Do I need international intellectual property protection?

Although your business is based in New York, you may have goals of expanding to many different regions all over the world. To this end, filing for intellectual property protection internationally might be necessary to ensure your most valuable ideas remain out of the hands of rivals. But how can you determine whether international protection is right for you?

According, there are a number of questions you should consider before implementing international protections. For instance, consider your current business model and whether you plan to export or manufacture products outside the U.S. Even if you plan on only doing business with companies situated outside of the U.S., international protection might still make sense for you. Also, consider budgetary restraints; are you able to cover the expenses for protecting your intellectual property in numerous international areas?

If you find yourself answering yes to the above questions, the next step might be to consider your options regarding patents for intellectual property abroad. When seeking protection in many different countries, you typically have two options at your disposal. The Madrid Protocol covers a selection of countries that have signed onto the agreement, while the Patent Cooperation Treaty utilizes a single application for all member countries (of which there are 144).

You can also look at individual countries using an IPR toolkit, which is specifically developed by the U.S. government and a country's respective U.S. embassy. No matter which option you ultimately choose, filing early is crucial. In some cases, a patent may not be filed after you've already begun doing business in a specific country, which can leave your intellectual property open to theft.

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