In a globalised world where many businesses now operate online it is very likely that disputes that arise will involve businesses operating in different countries.
- Intellectual property rights are territorial, which means they only apply in countries where they are registered, although in some cases if goods are shipped to other countries, their laws may give some rights based on the business’ use.
- Although there are international treaties governing intellectual property law, and many countries have adopted very similar intellectual property legal provisions, these provisions are not always interpreted in the same way in every country.
Preventing international disputes
Registration of your intellectual property rights and domain names in markets that are important to you means you are less likely to get caught up in difficult and costly international IP disputes later.
- If you have not registered your trademark in another country but are an online business and have customers outside your home market you may find that local competitors in that country try to profit from your success by adopting your name.
- You may be able to use the international trademark application system for many countries.
- Registering domain names in countries in which you do business should also be prioritized so local competitors do not set up competing websites to take advantage of your success.
- Protecting patents in other countries internationally may be expensive, but in the long run foreign patents can reduce costly international disputes.
- Copyright protection is automatic in most countries, however it is vital to secure proof of ownership of copyright that would stand up in court. In some countries copyright registration is advisable to secure additional protection.
How we can help
If an international dispute arises you will need legal advice quickly from lawyers who have experience of international, cross border disputes.
Our international networks enable us to quickly source and appoint local legal representation for you, and to help you to manage the legal costs and timescales. This gives you maximum impact despite your being outside your home market.