7.1.2 Why protect intellectual property?

Sooner or later, many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operate in more than one market selling their products or services or licensing/franchising their intellectual property (IP) rights and know-how beyond their national borders. IP rights, however, are territorial, implying that they are usually only protected in the home country or region where protection has been applied for and obtained. Protecting IP in export markets is therefore crucial so as to enjoy the same benefits of protection abroad as are enjoyed on the domestic market. You should carefully consider applying for IP protection well in time in all countries to which you are likely to export or license your product or service in the foreseeable future.1

Regardless of what product your enterprise makes or what service it provides, it is likely that it is regularly using and creating a great deal of intellectual property. This being the case, you should systematically consider the steps required for protecting, managing and enforcing it, so as to get the best possible commercial results from its ownership. If you have spent brain and money in the development of your innovative products and you want to avoid others profiting from the fruits of your effort then you should consider using Intellectual Property Protection Tools.2 

Please stop and think: What are the products or services in your organisation which need to be protected by IP? Can you identify these products from the following points:

  • It is a technological innovation
  • It is a cultural innovation
  • It can be further developed
  • After selling this product or service in different markets it can create new jobs in my organisation
  • My organization is going to operate in foreign markets soon
  • I want to grow the trust of my customers

An efficient and equitable intellectual property system can help all countries realise intellectual property potential as a powerful tool for economic development and social and cultural well-being. The intellectual property system helps strike a balance between the interests of the innovator and the public interest, providing an environment in which creativity and invention can flourish, to the benefit of all.3


1 www.wipo.int/sme/en/ip_business/ip_protection/international_protection.htm
2 www.wipo.int/sme/en/ip_business/importance/relevant.htm
3 www.wipo.int/about-ip/en/