Intellectual property issues are a sometimes-overlooked area in real estate transactions. It can be the case that sites or buildings are purchased without necessarily considering fully whether the underlying intellectual property assets are being transferred and what future access or control the new owner may need, or the vendor wish to retain.

Key areas may include access to and rights to copy and use plans, or any marketing materials showing layouts or photographs of the property which the purchaser may wish to reuse. The control of the website for the building including the domain name should be considered, as well as more obvious things like the branding of the building or use of the name under which it was previously known. Social media accounts and any apps connected to the property will also need to be assessed and control gained when ownership of the real estate is transferred.

Here are a few questions those involved should be asking:

  • Does your property have a distinctive name or logo?
  • Is there a website or an app associated with your property?
  • Are there original creative works associated with your property, such as architectural drawings, website materials, promotional text or graphic designs?
  • Does your building have a digital twin with appropriate licensing?
  • Do your redevelopment plans allow you to comply with the '6 week' moral rights regime?
  • Has appropriate engagement or consultation with First Nations representative groups been factored into your development plans involving cultural heritage sites?

Read our Real Estate Guide to IP for answers to these and many other intellectual property issues that can arise in relation to real estate.

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The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.