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IP Management Plans & Apunipima : A case study

Apunipima Cape York Health Council (Apunipima) is a membership based Aboriginal Health Organisation responsible for delivering high quality, culturally appropriate health care to 11 Cape York communities.

Problem: Apunipima identified some issues over the ownership and use of its Intellectual Property (IP) in terms of volume, legal responsibilities and obligations and were looking to develop a clear process or policy on IP. Having attended an Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property (ICIP) workshop hosted by Terri Janke they proceeded to develop an ICIP protocol and sought the assistance of Terri Janke and Company to undertake an IP audit and develop and IP management plan in order to secure their intellectual property.

Solutions: Terri Janke and Company (TJC) guided Apunipima in conducting an extensive audit of their IP: it started with its identification, which went from the most obvious items such as trade mark and domain name, to more inconspicuous items such as copyright material produced by employees, third party content used on their website or social media and Indigenous cultural and intellectual property.

TJC then developed short term and long term recommendations to manage their IP for each category (e.g. brand identity, legal agreements, trade marks), and devised strategies to manage the potential infringement of Apunipima’s IP. (For example, developing adequate copyright terms of use for their website).

Our added value: ensuring the effectiveness of the plan During this project TJC developed the client’s knowledge of IP and raised their awareness of the importance of IP for the viability of their business.

The client realised that if staff members are unaware of IP issues, an IP plan has limited use. This is why we conducted a half day workshop for Apunipima staff to ensure they understand the importance of IP and the how they can manage the associated risks.

The aim of our work was to ensure that the IP Management plan are living guidelines used daily by all staff: We made recommendations and helped the client design standardised template documents (e.g.: photographic release forms, licensing agreements, etc.), greatly reducing the risk of having further disputes.

TJC’s 5 tips for an effective IP Management plan:

  1. Understand what intellectual property is and what IP is being used and created by your business

  2. Create an IP aware business – train your staff to identify IP

  3. Review all contracts for terms relating to IP – are you licensing or assigning your IP, and can you negotiate a change to the term?

  4. Track your IP and permissions in an IP register for reference

  5. Register all important trade marks to get exclusive use – having a business or company name is not enough.

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