Understanding Intellectual Property Rights in Strata Buildings
The Harry Potter books and the telephone are what you may think of when it comes to intellectual property (IP), but did you know that strata buildings can have intellectual property rights too?
Intellectual property rights refer to the assignment of property rights through patents, copyrights and trademarks. These property rights allow the holder to exercise the monopoly on the use of the item for a specified period.
Strata titles are actually an Australian innovation (intellectual property!) in property law and this has been imitated around the world (we should be proud). These allow individual ownership of part of a property (generally in the form of an apartment, townhouse or unit). For instance, you may own a property in a ‘block’ of units, but the shared on-site pool, entry gate and/or elevator is considered ‘common property.’ Common property is owned by the strata company who have an obligation to maintain and repair it.
Want a local example?
Queensland’s own, world famous Q1 is a strata complex which contains 526 apartments in addition to resort pools, retail and dining spaces, and conference rooms.
Community Title Scheme (CTS)
The Community Title Schemes (CTS) were introduced by the Body Corporate and Community Management Act (BCCM Act) to better administer group titles, building units and strata corporations.
With this scheme, unique to Queensland, a proposed identifying name may be reserved by a developer. This prevents third parties obtaining the same CTS name in Queensland.
Why does IP matter?
A widely recognised restaurant franchise may take legal action if you set up your own business with the same or similar name. It doesn’t matter if the name was on purpose or inadvertently chosen - you are liable under Australian IP laws if it deceives or confuses the public.
Unfortunately, intellectual property in the strata world, doesn’t always get the attention it deserves.
Protecting intellectual property has never been more vital in the age of innovation and technological advancement. It’s never too early to take steps to protect it in the earliest of stages either.
Consolidating your IP: Trademarks
What is a trademark? It’s a phrase, symbol or word that identifies a business or its products. Trademarks are protected by law.
Did you know that registering a trademark is by far the strongest protection that can be made for a particular business name?
The steps you need to take:
1.Decide if you have a trade mark
2.Understand your goods and services
3.Search to make sure it’s available
5.Receive your outcome
Just because you don’t know the entire ins and outs of IP in strata buildings, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider implementing it. Securing your IP in property and in business, will not only provide peace of mind, but also boost your credibility in the strata stratosphere.
Remember, it’s important to understand the necessary terms (IP, strata, trade marks), your rights in property ownership, what is owned by you, and what is owned by the strata.
Want more information on IP rights and their role in strata buildings? We get it. It can be confusing and that’s why we’re here to help. Crest Accountants, your local Gold Coast Accountants, are here to help you understand IP and property rights through our range of personal and specialised accounting services.
Contact us to book an appointment today.