International protection for intellectual property

Glenn W. Peterson

Many businesses in California whether small or large routinely do business in countries outside of the United States. This naturally gives rise to concerns that a business operating solely in a domestic setting does not have to deal with. Securing intellectual property in multiple countries is one of those concerns.

As explained by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, any type of intellectual property granted in the U.S. only offers protection in this country. This includes patents, trademarks and copyrights. It should be noted that a copyright does not require official registration in order to be in effect, but such registration can help provide protection if needed.

Companies who need to secure patents and trademarks must apply for these protections in each country in which they want the recognition of the intellection property. For patents, it may well be possible to file a single patent application domestically and then identify additional countries in which patent recognition and protection is requested. This may be done for as many of 143 countries in addition to the U.S.

Through the World Intellectual Property Organization, companies can find the websites with details on intellectual property applications and protections in all other countries around the world. Businesses are also able to record their U.S.-based intellectual property holdings with the Customs and Border Protection office. As the United Kingdom continues its removal from the European Union, companies should check into the status of protection in the U.K. for any intellectual property granted by the European Union for ongoing protections.