International protection of your IP
When your business operates in a global market, you need to consider intellectual property (IP) protection for each country you do business with. This protection will help you gain successful entry to the market and minimise competitive threats.
Every country has different IP laws and international protection can be costly and complicated. However, Australia does have agreements in place to make it easier to obtain rights in some countries.
Also, consider if there is a chance that your business may operate or expand overseas. You will need to research the potential country to determine whether an existing trade mark or product exists. For example, if there is already a trade mark of the same type/name/class in the country, then there may be difficulties entering that market under the same trade mark.
Ensure you're aware of all the rules, limitations and costs involved before seeking international IP protection.
- You can find out how each country handles its IP protection overseas on the IP Australia website.
- Read this case study about an international trade mark dispute involving a cautionary tale of Harry Potter.
Intellectual property when importing
Similar arrangements need to be in place before you import goods into Australia. Having a robust strategy for your IP will also assist you when taking your product to a global market.
You need to know whether you need to authorise the use of IP rights, and know what rights you need to register or enforce. Failure to do this may result in any IP protection being invalid.
When you think there is a potential breach of your IP, you need to act quickly to protect it. For example, if you find that someone is trying to import a fake version of your product, you must notify Customs as soon as possible. A trade mark or copyright owner can request Customs to prevent infringing goods from being imported into Australia.
Again, international treaties and conventions will assist you.
- Visit the World Intellectual Property Organisation to find information on international IP protection and access international databases.
- See what global IP agreements may affect to Australian businesses.
- Find out what you need to do if there is a breach of your IP.