Publications - Business services

Switch on During Light Bulb Moments

The world of intellectual property has always been fascinating for me.

Okay, I understand that some of you - if not the majority - will be declaring I should go and get a life. But think about it. You can have an idea that can change the world, and you can protect the rights to that idea. Through this process, ordinary people across the globe have been able to change many lives in many ways. Often for the better.

I don’t include firearms on the betterment list, for instance – although the chap who invented the AK-47 couldn’t get a patent because he lived under a communist regime. But that’s another story.

In my years as a lawyer, I have seen lots of people with lots of ideas. Some good, some not so good. Some people you never see again.  Others are able to construct a real and valuable business around their concept.

What my experience has taught me is that Thomas Edison got it right (again) when he said: “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” This is never more evident than with intellectual property because step one is actually the idea, yet there are so many more steps that follow. 

Some of the issues that arise on the journey will include how to keep information confidential, what legal structures to use, how to go about financing the project, and the inevitable but absolutely crucial decisions that have to be made concerning strategy.

The nature of the assistance you require along the way will depend on your idea. You will normally require legal and accounting advice. You may need a patent attorney or engineering, scientific or medical assistance.  

My advice is to select your advisers like you would select a football team. Make sure everyone can bring something to the table, then use the talent you have assembled to achieve your desired outcome. And don’t forget the message above from the chap who invented (fairly appropriately in the context of this article) the light bulb. 

Sean Kelly is a Director at Kelly Legal and can be contacted on or at

Sean’s articles can be accessed on the Daily Mercury website at or you can find Sean’s column “Mind Your Own Business” in APN newspapers each Wednesday.


Send us an Enquiry


When I needed a solicitor quickly, Elspeth’s name was recommended quite a few times from family and friends. My matter was a very stressful and because I had cancer in 2008-2009 I was worried…

— Robert, Rural View

View more testimonials »

I found Elspeth to be kind and compassionate, but professional at the same time.

— KA, North Mackay

View more testimonials »

My husband and myself recently purchased a block of land at Habana and we decided to use the Team at Kelly Legal. We had the up most professionalism and the contact between us and the Kelly legal team…

— KF, Ooralea

View more testimonials »

Elspeth told us what our rights were and what we were entitled to, and she was spot on.

— SD & SD, Belgian Gardens

View more testimonials »

Jane's letters that she sent to others on my behalf were brilliantly written.  She always explained everything to me in down to earth terms.  Jane is very intelligent and understanding and…

— JW, Glenwood

View more testimonials »

This was our first property transaction in 48 years. Debbie always returned our phone calls straight away. She was kind to us and helped us understand what was going on and took the time to explain…

— MS & AS, Mount Pleasant

View more testimonials »

I was able to see an experienced lawyer the next day without going on a waiting list.

— CF, Eimeo

View more testimonials »

Individual liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation