Justin R. Jackson
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Making the decision to take your business beyond borders can be an exciting opportunity to expand your company’s market reach. But there are also challenges that must be addressed. Specifically, there are a number of relevant intellectual property issues that apply to business owners preparing to enter the global arena.
The risk of intellectual property theft increases significantly when companies expand globally. This is especially true when globalization includes countries such as China, Russia, and Indonesia, where piracy and IP infringement are more common, and India, where narrow patent standards, patent revocations, and compulsory licensure threats require companies to deal with lengthy and burdensome patent acquisition as well as defenses against IP opposition.
While there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for securing IP assets abroad, there are a number of strategies that are demonstrated to be effective, including obtaining U.S. copyright and trademark protection before expanding business abroad. It is also generally best to discuss and consider filing for intellectual property rights in each country before you begin any marketing activities that are directed to regions outside the USA.
Local Trademark Registrations
Because issued patents and registered trademarks in the USA are not generally recognized in countries outside of the USA, obtaining trademark registration and patent protection in the foreign country that you plan to do business in is an important step and prevents competitors from obtaining conflicting rights. Ownership of locally registered IP rights, accompanied by a strong demand letter, is often sufficient to stop infringement without the need to go to court.
Country-Specific Domain Registration
In the United States, the .com domain represents the most common top-line domain registration. However, each country has country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs), such as .de for Germany or .fr for France. Obtaining local ccTLDs can facilitate market reach in overseas locations as well as minimizing cybersquatting by bad actors.
Patent Protection BEFORE Use or Sale in Foreign Markets
Failure to obtain patent protection before using, selling, or otherwise publicly disclosing a product or service can prevent the acquisition of a patent in most foreign countries at a later date. Many foreign countries do not provide a grace period, which means that you automatically dedicate your patent rights to the public as soon as you make any such public disclosure, sale, or use anywhere.
Whether your company is expanding its operations abroad or planning growth within the United States, obtaining IP legal counsel well in advance is a wise move. To learn more about Peacock Law’s Intellectual Property Services for clients which operate internationally, check out our website at https://peacocklaw.com/intellectual-property-strategy or give us a call today.