The United States has certain registration requirements for copyrights, patents, and trademarks. These requirements make protecting your Intellectual Property (IP) straightforward with good legal representation. However, when you want to operate in a global market, you need to understand international IP protection and registration requirements, which will vary based on the type of IP involved.
Obtaining international IP protection can be complicated and expensive, depending on the country involved. The Brown & Blaier, PC understands the intricacies of obtaining international IP protection and can guide you through the process.
What is International IP?
IP begins as intangible mental creations that 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 copyright but allow a country to afford more if desired.
A patents grants an 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 for patent protection in multiple countries with one application. If less than six months have passed since you filed for a patent in the United States, you need a 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 (“Madrid
). Madrid allows you to file one application as a “bundle” for protection in multiple signatory countries.
Your Business Globally
If your business intends to distribute, license, or sell your IP internationally and you believe your international IP may be copied, you should consider filing for protection. Your IP is valuable and deserves the proper safeguards, so start by consulting with Brown & Blaier, PC to determine what protections are available to you in your desired markets.
The IP attorneys at Brown & Blaier, PC are not patent attorneys but we are happy to make a recommendation to patent attorneys in our network, if requested.