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INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY PROTECTION FOR SMES

Guest Article (Cooper IP)

Intangible assets currently account for about 90% of the S&P 500’s market value (compared with about 17% in 1975). Intangible assets are abstract in nature and include value derived from intellectual property, R&D and brand reputation.

Many of today’s thriving businesses safeguard their intellectual property (IP) to remain competitive. Indeed, a 2020 Report produced by IP Australia found that “Australian businesses that own any of the three types of IP rights [patents, trade marks and designs], especially those with multiple types of IP rights, are more likely to perform better in terms of profitability…than businesses that do not own any IP rights”.

Melbourne Patent Attorneys and Trade Mark Attorneys

Cooper IP is an Australian patent and trade marks attorney firm that helps SMEs across Melbourne and Tasmania protect their IP. In this guest post, Michael Cooper shares the following insights to help Australian SMEs capitalise on their IP.

Patent protection

Patents are legal rights that protect technological innovations. Businesses that invest in R&D and produce new products and processes can secure exclusive rights over their developments via patent protection. Armed with a patent, businesses have the exclusive right to make, sell, license and otherwise exploit their inventions.

Confirm your patent attorney’s technical background. The patent application process involves filing documents that detail the functionality of your invention. Patent attorneys all have degrees in engineering and/or scientific disciplines, and it is vital to engage the right attorney so they appreciate the intricacies of your invention.

Confidentiality is key. To secure valid patent protection, an invention must be new over what is already in the public domain. As such, before applying for patent protection, ensure the invention is a well-kept secret. Rest assured that disclosures of your invention to an Australian patent attorney are regarded as confidential.

Design protection

Registered designs protect the appearance of products. These exclusive design rights are perfect for products that aren’t necessarily new inventions but have a distinctive aesthetic appearance.

When filing a design application, it is good practice to file black and white line drawings of the product as seen from various views. To increase the scope of protection, a broad product name can be chosen and certain visual features can be shown and/or claimed as being optional – your patent attorney can advise you on how to best protect your product via the design application process. Again, confidentiality is key.

Trade mark protection

Trade marks refer to signs that indicate to consumers the commercial origin of goods and services. These “marks of trade” often come in the form of brand names and logos, but can also be colours, shapes and sounds (e.g., a computer start-up sound).

Distinctiveness is king. Great trade marks usually don’t describe the associated goods and/or services. Indeed, many well-known trade marks have nothing to do with the associated goods and services (e.g., APPLE, IKEA, QANTAS).In contrast, highly descriptive trade marks are difficult to protect and customers may have a harder time finding your business online since competitors would be free to use similarly descriptive trade marks.

Beware of trade mark infringement. Going through the trade mark application process is useful because it can help identify potential infringement risks. For example, if a competitor has already registered a similar trade mark for related goods/services, use of your trade mark may infringe their trade mark registration.

A business name won’t cut it. Successfully registering a business name, domain name and/or company name does not give you exclusive rights for that name. Only a registered trade mark provides you with exclusive trade mark rights.

Looking for an IP Attorney?

Prevention is better than cure. This rings true in the world of IP – it is often much simpler and more cost-effective to be proactive and seek advice early. It is often too late (and more expensive) to seek advice only after an IP issue has arisen.

Free IP consultations. Many IP firms, including Cooper IP, provide free consultations so they can point you in the right direction. Feel free to book a consultation with Cooper IP here.


CIA’s June 30 – Tax Tips – Boosting Your Tax Returns!

CIA’s June 30 – Tax Tips – Boosting Your Tax Returns!  

For Business the biggest TAX news from the BUDGET was that Mr Frydenberg announced the government would be extending temporary full expensing and temporary loss carry-back (to the year 2019) for an additional year until 30 June 2023.   Further, Mr Frydenberg said the government will deliver more than $16 billion in tax cuts to small and medium businesses by 2023-24 with around $1.5 billion flowing in 2019 20. This, he said, includes reducing the tax rate for small and medium companies, from 30 per cent in 2014 15 to 25 per cent from 1 July 2021.  

Prepay your expenses where you can and don’t be too hasty getting out your invoices prior to June 30 even more so if it’s been a great income year. Its also a great time to purchase a business asset of any value to really boost your returns (or lower your tax bills!).  

Stocktakes can be counted on Cost price, Replacement Price or even Actual values which is one of our greatest tax planning tools for those that carry stock. Get counting!    


For Employees make sure you have paid for all your work-related expenses prior to June 30. Try to bring costs forward when you’ve had a great income year to smooth the tax pains.  

Don’t forget – Sunglasses, Hats and Sunscreen for taxpayers that work in any outdoor occupation (including driving) they are tax deductible – Keep the receipts!  

Claim Everything This one each year is a bit tongue in cheek, though correctly claiming expenses is our expertise. Your job is to think of absolutely anything that has a connection with your incomes and let us measure the appropriateness of claim.    


For Investors with repairs and maintenance on investment properties?Consider bringing forward so you can enjoy your tax deduction in the current financial year amongst other costs!  

Pre-paying interest Say,on a loan of $300,000 it may cost $12,000 but it could get you up to $6000 back as a tax refund this year. Requires a negotiation with your lender!!    


Made a capital gain during the past year, for example, the sale or part sale of a business (including investments the business has made), shares or a property. If the answer is a ‘yes’ then you should be thinking about your options for managing the CGT liability. Start by looking for capital losses (not hard at the moment) to offset the CGT liability (or losses carried forward from prior years) and consider selling out losses before June 30 to offset gains – call to discuss.  

Medicare levy surcharge & Private Health Insurance Rebate thresholds For the rates of Medicare levy surcharge that applies or the amount of rebate you are entitled to see the rebate and surcharge levels applicable are:

https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Medicare-and-private-health-insurance/Private-health-insurance-rebate/Income-thresholds-and-rates-for-the-private-health-insurance-rebate/


Superannuation Whilst there are no major changes for 2021 tax year the scheduled ones are going ahead.   The Superannuation Guarantee rate is increasing to 10%, effective 1 July 2021   From July 1st 2021 the concessional cap into super rises to $27,500 which includes super SG and salary sacrifices. Don’t forget personal super contributions can also be claimed as a deduction under the same limit.   For under 67’s they may be able to also contribute $300,000* Non-Concessional all at once.   For over 67’s they will need to pass the work test and be restricted to $100,000. Forget about it over 75 sadly.   The limits rise to $110,000 annually and $330,000 for 3 years (below 67’s) from 1 July 2021    

Superannuation has become so complex We recommend that you never contribute until you’ve cleared it with your advisors first.  

Super contributions to be claimed in this tax year they need to be paid WELL before June 30 (i.e., by mid-June – Do it Now!) and yes in many cases you should contribute to super for example; An average earner saves around 20% of tax on their contribution so even if they put the money into the safe cash option of the fund, they have already had one great investment year! However, if you are bit on the younger side burdened with a lot of bad debt then speak to us about doing the numbers on super contributions before you do.   

Make larger super contributions if you haven’t used all of your concessional cap in an earlier year. If you make or receive concessional contributions (CCs) of less than the annual concessional contributions cap of $25,000 pa, you may be able to accrue these unused amounts for use in subsequent financial years. Unused cap amounts can be carried forward for up to five years before they expire.   2018/19 was the first financial year you could accrue unused cap amounts. To be eligible to make catch-up CCs, your total super balance at the prior 30 June must be below $500,000.  

Superannuation Co-contributions for super is something you should still DO. Up to a 50% matching rate on up to $1,000 of after-tax contributions, so a maximum amount $500 FREE from the ATO into your super!! Income thresholds must be below $54,837  

Superannuation Pensions remember, you need to have made your annual drawdowns by June 30 and the good news for 2020 and 2021 the minimum amount to drawdown has been halved. Maximum drawdown limits are unchanged.  

Superannuation Spouse Contribution of $3000 The amount of the offset is 18 per cent of the spouse contribution you make (max. offset of $540) reducing your own tax. Spouse income must be under $37,000 to get the full offset, then it gradually reduces to zero at $40,000. Again, there are always other conditions so check with CIA first or your Superfund to avoid disappointment.    
 

CIA tax run a weekly MONEY series on Ticker Tv – Make sure you are following CIA tax on YOUTUBE to stay right up to date (link is top right on our home page – the play button – or contact us for a link).


Australian Federal Budget 2021/2

CIA tax’s review: Australian Federal Budget 2021/2

“Securing Australia’s Recovery”

Anyone else remember the good old days when it was exciting to wait expectantly for the Federal Budget to be released wondering what surprises good and bad there would be?

Well, 2021/2 was pretty much leaked/announced in the days prior and again last night was as boring as bat (even for us Chartered Tax Advisors!) to tune in to…

Big spending, big debts and no surprises which was pretty much a certain in an election year and a continuing pandemic recovery.

Tax cuts were left in place, as was superannuation guarantees and the ATO has been held back in pursuing struggling businesses. Steady as she goes, keep the businesses running, employing and the people spending. 

“Net debt will increase to $617.5 billion or 30.0 per cent of GDP this year and peak at $980.6 billion or 40.9 per cent of GDP in June 2025 This is low by international standards. As a share of the economy, net debt is around half of that in the U.K. and U.S. and less than a third of that in Japan.  Consumer sentiment is at its highest in 11 years. Business conditions reached record highs and more Australians are in work than ever before”

One thing they didn’t harp on about (and what saved us last time during the Howard years) is it appears, we are on the cusp of an extended resources / mining boom as the global economy fires back up on inflated incentives of all kinds. We Australians really have won the lottery of life.

Macro, there seems to be a growing diversion in economic realities. We either go bust on debt, or we go super boom and hopefully deflate debt. It is getting harder to see a middle ground between the two polar opposites unless of course its decades (doldrums) of low inflation/interest rates and there’s no will or policy for that!

Housing nearly always gets some love with first home owners and single parent guarantees to help people get on board.

Superannuation with further good news.

  • The super contribution works test for those aged 67 to 74 is to be abolished from 1/7/22
  • Downsizer super contributions restrictions from 1/7/22 get even easier also with an age restriction reducing to above 60 the take up of this will be far more attractive.
  • The $450 minimum per month super contribution is being removed from 1/7/22 a good thing for casual workers a pain for micro employers (administration).

The question has to be asked, why wait to 1/7/22 for these measures? 

Biggest news once again is in supporting business:

Mr Frydenberg announced the government would be extending temporary full expensing and temporary loss carry-back (to the year 2019) for an additional year until 30 June 2023.

Further, Mr Frydenberg said the government will deliver more than $16 billion in tax cuts to small and medium businesses by 2023-24 with around $1.5 billion flowing in 2019‑20. This, he said, “includes reducing the tax rate for small and medium companies, from 30 per cent in 2014‑15 to 25 per cent from 1 July 2021″.

Well, that’s the 2021/2 highlights and there are plenty of other lesser budgetary gems that can all be found here: https://budget.gov.au/index.htm or contact the team at CIA tax.


JobKeeper Application Process

Contact us (as information is changing daily) for CIA’s step by step guide for the JobKeeper application process:

  1. Key Dates
  2. The Turnover Test
  3. Guide – If you are an employee only
  4. Guide – employers reporting through STP
  5. Guide – employers not reporting through STP
  6. Guide – Sole Traders/Self-Employed


Stage 3 of Coronavirus Assistances

Unprecedented times – 3 CIA tax Newsletters in 3 Weeks – it’s all happening.

Stage 3 of Coronavirus Assistances

(Credit to Newscorp)

Businesses are rushing to sign up to the federal government’s $130 billion plan to subsidise wages during the coronavirus pandemic.

https://www.ato.gov.au/general/gen/JobKeeper-payment/

The Treasurer said around 60,000 businesses had already signed up for the scheme announced on Monday.

The scheme will see employees receiving a flat-rate payment of $1500 per fortnight through their employers in a bid to lessen the

economic blow caused by coronavirus. Payments will commence May 1 but will be backdated.

It applies to full and part-time workers, sole traders, as well as casuals who have been on the books for at least 12 months.

The subsidies will last for six months.

It will be administered through the single touch payroll system, requiring businesses to keep the employee on the books in order to distribute the payment.

Businesses and not-for-profits will be eligible after a downturn in revenue of 30 per cent.

“That means they can still have them on the books and start working together on how they can resuscitate the business on the other side,” he said.

New Zealanders and casuals working for more than one year will also be eligible for the Jobkeeper payment.

Don’t forget our senior partner Dr Steven Enticott is Facebook live Wednesdays at 6pm. There is plenty going on, yet there is unprecedented supports and plenty of hope for the future post coronavirus.

Stay safe!