In today’s obviously global (and seemingly universal) marketplace, it is understandable that some business owners and entrepreneurs are surprised to learn that their intellectual property is not automatically protected in other countries. Patents, trademarks, and the like are territorial, meaning that they need to be registered in each individual country where protection is sought. There are some treaties that will make the initial filing easier, but ultimately registration and protection are protected and prosecuted separately by each country. Copyrights are protected by some international treaties and conventions, but they are not recognized in every country. For companies that seek to protect their brands internationally, additional and alternative IP protection must be sought.
I want to protect my IP abroad. Where do I start?
Your intellectual property attorney, no matter where you live, can be a tremendous resource to you in the area of IP and beyond. He or she can help you connect with an attorney in the desired country in which you are seeking protection, and help walk you through the nuisances and challenges that will arise in the process. So, just as our firm is often contacted by attorneys in Israel, Canada, Poland, UK, South Africa, and elsewhere to help their clients with trademarks or patents here in the US, when a client comes to us that needs protection in another country, we have firms abroad that we can work with to help our client take the necessary steps to move forward according to that country’s IP laws. If you don’t already have a relationship with an IP attorney, we invite you to contact the office to schedule a consultation.
How do I enforce my intellectual property rights in a foreign country?
Once you are granted intellectual property rights in a foreign country, you will need to police your IP and enforce your rights as you would in the country in which you reside. It’s important to remember that each country has different intellectual property laws. What is an infringement in one country may not be infringement in another. A common example is that here in the US, a trademark that is not formally registered may still be protected from infringement under common law rights. In many other countries, a trademark owner cannot bring infringement claims if their mark is not officially registered. Business owners should be aware of the laws of the country they are seeking protection in, as they may have to pursue alternative legal actions such as suing for misrepresentation or unfair business practices to bring a potential infringer to justice.
When it comes to foreign intellectual property rights, don’t go it alone!
Intellectual property rights can be technical, confusing, and usually vary from country to country. When it comes to the protection of your brand overseas, take the time to speak with a qualified attorney who can guide you through the various decisions you’ll have to make to secure your trademarks, patents, and copyrights internationally. If you need assistance getting started, contact the Law Office of Jason H. Rosenblum, PLLC at (888) 666-0062 to schedule a consultation.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.
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