Intellectual property rights, like those that come with patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, and domain names, are generally territorial. The protections may only apply in the country that holds the IP. Big or small, companies can face threats to their IP rights in a global market. You can take steps to help better ensure successful expansion into the global marketplace without putting your IP at risk.
What can I do to protect my IP and avoid similar issues?
These three proactive steps provided can help to better ensure IP protections apply overseas:
- Make sure your paperwork is in order. Ideally, this includes an official U.S. registration. Although looking to extend protections globally, an official U.S. registration is one clear piece of evidence to help support your claim over the IP.
- Look into options in your desired market. If you are looking to market in China, Japan, India, or another foreign market, check the options available there to further protect your IP rights.
- Put together non-disclosure agreements. In addition to getting local domain rights, trademarks, copyrights, and other IP protections, it is also wise to get non-disclosure agreements if working with local businesses. The clear threat of a battle if the local business does not abide by the agreement may be enough to deter inappropriate use of your IP.
It is also important to be prepared to defend your IP rights if challenged, locally or on a global scale. Having the paperwork in order, as noted above, as well as putting together a team dedicated to protecting your IP can help to better ensure a successful defense.