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What is intellectual property

Intellectual property (IP) typically includes things like a logo, brand, trade secret, design or invention.

IP is important for small businesses because it can help:

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  • create market advantages and business opportunities
  • grow profits, including licensing or selling to others
  • attract investment
  • protect businesses
  • maintain your good reputation
  • keep competitors away
  • be a selling point for potential business buyers.

IP is NOT:

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  • only for big businesses
  • always expensive to protect
  • only for inventors
  • complicated and time-consuming
  • just about protection.
It’s a myth that you’re allowed to copy up to 10% of someone else’s work without their permission.

It’s a myth that you’re allowed to copy up to 10% of someone else’s work without their permission.

In fact, IP is:

  • something businesses of all sizes should be thinking about
  • often free and straightforward to protect
  • as much about growing a business as it is about safeguarding it.

In its most basic form, IP is about protecting what you’ve invested in — your business. By having an understanding of IP — and knowing what to do about what’s rightfully yours — you’ll be able to take the right steps for your business.

Case study

Case study

Buzzing business

One of New Zealand’s most famous toys is Buzzy Bee™, a playtime staple for more than 70 years. 

Its IP includes trade marks and copyright. These have helped the toy’s creators and owners build the brand, stop copycats and license Buzzy Bee’s image and name to a variety of products and services over the years.

Because of its strong brand, the current owners were able to attract international interest to fund the TV series Buzzy Bee and Friends, now screening in New Zealand and several Asian countries.

It’s a great example of how prioritising IP within your business can increase your bottom line, secure markets and create new revenue streams.

Use of Buzzy Bee’s image has been approved by the licence holder.

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