The United States has certain registration requirements for copyrights, patents, and trademarks, which makes protecting your Intellectual Property (IP) straightforward with good legal representation. However, when you want to operate in a global market, you need to understand each country's unique IP registration requirements, and these may vary based on the type of IP involved.
Obtaining international IP protection can be complicated and expensive, depending on the country involved. The Law Office of Elliott J. Brown understands the intricacies of obtaining international IP protection and can guide you through the process.
What is IP?
IP begins as intangible mental creations which can be brought to life in many ways, some of which are outlined below. This may include art, literary pieces, designs, logos, music, and automated processes, among others. You should file for IP protection in every country where you sell a product or service in order to receive maximum protection.
Copyrights protect artistic and literary works, such as books, music, advertisements, computer programs, and technical drawings.
The United States signed four international IP agreements, and one covers copyrights -- the Berne Convention. Under this agreement, every country that signed it recognizes a minimum standard of protection of copyrights from citizens of the other signatory countries the same way it recognizes copyrights for its own citizens. Minimum standards guarantee a base level of protection for a copyright but allows a country to afford more, if desired.
Patents grant exclusive rights to an invention.
You must register a patent in every country where you need protection since registering in the United States does not protect you internationally, however, to simplify the process of obtaining international patents, the United States is a signatory on the Paris Convention and the Patent Cooperation Treaty. The Paris Convention agreement allows inventors from signatory countries to file for patents in other signatory countries, and they are given the same enforcement that citizen inventors receive. The Patent Co-Operation Treaty allows inventors from signatory countries to file once for patent protection in a "bundle" of signatory countries with only one application. If less than six months have passed since you filed for a patent in the United States, you need a United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) license to file a patent in another country.
Trademarks are unique symbols, phrases, or words that distinguish the goods or services of one business from another.
The Paris Convention covers trademarks the same way it covers patents. The United States is also a signatory on the Madrid Protocol, which allows you to file one application as a "bundle" of protection in other signatory countries.
Grow Your Business Globally
If your business intends to distribute, license, or sell your IP internationally and you believe your IP may be copied, you should consider filing for protection. Your IP is valuable and deserves the proper safeguards, so start by consulting with the Law Office of Elliott J. Brown to determine what protections are available to you in your desired markets.
The attorneys at the Law Office of Elliott J. Brown are not patent attorneys. Our general knowledge of patent law should be used as a substitute for a conversation with a registered patent attorney. We are happy to make a recommendation to patent attorneys in our network, if requested.