7.2.2 Why International regulations are important?

As IP rights are ‘territorial’, i.e., are only available to you in the country or region in which they had been applied for and granted, to enjoy exclusive IP rights in foreign markets, you would have to seek and obtain protection abroad (except when it is available automatically without the need to comply with formalities, e.g., through an international treaty mechanism such as the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.)

The main reasons for protecting IP in export markets are outlined below:

  • IP rights, especially patents, may open up new export opportunities
  • IP rights, especially trademarks and industrial designs, may help you to develop an advantageous market position in export markets
  • IP rights enhance the opportunity of winning loyal clientele for your products and services in export markets.1

When you look at the reasons above for protecting IP in foreign markets, which is most relevant to your products and services. Why? Consult your company lawyer about your ideas!

In addition, the advantages of using a European or International application for patent protection are:

Economy and efficiency

  • A cost-effective and time-saving way of applying for patent protection in several different countries - unitary effects in the contracting states
  • Term, scope of protection, binding text, grounds for revocation - A 'strong' patent
  • Every European & International patent has undergone substantive examination and can be obtained for countries which otherwise operate only a registration system

Regarding trademarks, the most attractive feature of Community Trademark (CTM) registration is that it offers trademark protection in all member states of the EU at a cost that is much lower than that of filing separate applications in each Member State. Furthermore, use of the trademark is not required to secure registration or renewal. Also, bona fide use on a reasonable scale in a single Member State is sufficient to maintain the validity of the CTM registration throughout the EU, and prevent it from being vulnerable to cancellation through non-use over a five-year period. Finally, a CTM application that is refused registration may be converted into national applications, maintaining the priority of the original CTM application.2

1 www.wipo.int/sme/en/ip_business/export/export_opportunities.htm
2 www.inta.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=189&Itemid=59&getcontent=1