The federal Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research has announced an initiative to inform Australian SMEs on what to look out for when it comes to exporting their technology products overseas.
The Department is launching a national seminar series under the name "IP Passport -- Helping your business take off overseas" across the country aimed at reducing the risks associated with intellectual property protection overseas for Australian small businesses.
"IP protection overseas can be a minefield for businesses, particularly in Asia," said Senator Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research in a statement.
"I encourage small businesses to familiarise themselves with the IP laws in export markets so they can effectively manage their IP assets when dealing with overseas business partners," he said.
According to Peter Willimott, director of customer strategy at IP Australia, the new seminars will be of particular use to Australian tech SMEs looking to take their products to market abroad.
"I think SMEs need to be really careful when they start exporting, often the allure of exporting their technology can be so great that they take unnecessary risks, diving in without a thorough IP strategy," said Willimott.
"A lot of businesses just assume that software products -- as an example -- are protected under business process patents, but it depends on the jurisdiction," he added.
Wes Hall, head of corporate strategy at Sydney-based software firm Bravura, believes that his organisation, like many other niche IT vendors, will benefit from the program.
"It's particularly going to help IT companies make well informed IP decisions," said Hall. "Software is a particularly attractive offering from Australia ... but IP protection is one of the main criteria a lot of firms use when deciding where to go to market overseas," he said.