Import/export

IP beyond our borders

Businesses increasingly operate in a global marketplace, selling their products and services, or licensing and franchising their intellectual property (IP) rights beyond their national borders.

IP is a valuable asset that can enhance your competitive advantage by:

As IP is only protected within national borders, you should consider seeking IP protection in the country in which you wish to operate. International agreements have been created to facilitate and harmonize processes for registering your IP in multiple jurisdictions.

It is important to consider your IP protection in accordance with your identified markets, business goals and resources.

International IP protection

There are a number of international organizations that exist to facilitate the use of the IP system in an effective way.

World Intellectual Property Organization

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) administers a balanced and accessible international IP system to simplify the process for seeking IP protection internationally. The international filing systems reduce your costs for obtaining international protection.

World Trade Organization and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)

The World Trade Organization (WTO) established in 1995, oversees the rules governing trade between its 164 members in order to increase economic growth and social prosperity.

The WTO introduced intellectual property rules into the multilateral trading system: The TRIPS specify. TRIPS specify enforcement procedures, remedies, and dispute resolution on IP rights protection around the world.

The agreement covers five broad issues:

How to register your IP internationally

Businesses should take steps to protect their IP assets and exploit them to the greatest extent possible based on their business strategy. Registration of IP in Canada provides protection only in Canada. Similar protection must also be sought in targeted markets. Navigate through steps one to eight to learn more about IP for Exporting Businesses.

Resources on IP registration or application abroad:

Intellectual Property for Exporting Businesses

Registering intellectual property in Canada provides protection only in Canada. Similar protection must also be sought in targeted export markets.

Businesses should take steps to protect their intellectual property (IP) assets and exploit them to the greatest extent possible based on their business strategy. Registration of IP in Canada provides protection only in Canada. Similar protection must also be sought in targeted markets.

Navigate through steps one to eight to learn more about IP and IP management as you prepare to export.

  1. Learn the Basics of IP Rules
  2. Take Stock of your IP Assets
  3. Develop an IP Strategy
  4. Search IP Databases
  5. Formally Protect your IP Rights
  6. Get Professional Advice
  7. Prevent / Remedy Infringement
  8. Find Partnership and Licensing Opportunities

1. Learn the Basics of IP Rules

Learn the basics of IP rules and laws where your business is based and in the major countries in which you intend to do business. IP knowledge about your target markets can help you save time and money.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) offers useful resources specifically for businesses:

2. Take Stock of your IP Assets

Don't make assumptions — get clear on the IP assets you actually hold. Build an inventory of your IP assets to include in your business plan. IP rights can provide a foundation for mergers, licensing, and joint ventures or for research and development agreements.

3. Develop an IP Strategy

By developing an IP strategy linked to your firm's business strategy and export business plan, you will be in a better position to understand how intellectual property can support the achievement of your business goals.

4. Search IP Databases

There is a wealth of free strategic and competitive information available in IP databases around the world.

Search IP databases in the markets you are interested in developing to:

It is advisable to conduct trademark and patent searches before commercializing products and services, which may conflict with the IP rights owned by others in the marketplace. This type of search is called "freedom to operate".

CIPO provides search help for:

5. Formally Protect your IP Rights

IP Registration can create very important and timely business advantages. Do not hesitate to seek professional advice.

View various guides on how to file in the United States:

Remember:

6. Get Professional Advice

Ask for IP advice from a registered IP professional as early as possible. IP professionals include registered patent or trademark agents or IP lawyers.

While some agents and lawyers help you to file your IP application, others can offer strategic advice about developing effective IP exploitation strategies for your business. These IP experts can offer advice on when and how to apply for IP protection and how to save money by avoiding common IP pitfalls made by exporters.

7. Prevent / Remedy Infringement

In general, use of IP by any unlicensed party is considered infringement. With awareness and proper strategic planning, infringement can often be avoided. It is the owner's responsibility to stop unauthorized use. If conflict arises, attempt to reach a negotiated settlement, especially in foreign jurisdictions.

8. Find Partnership and Licensing Opportunities

After you've taken steps to protect your product or service, you'll want to decide on the best way to market it and to generate a profit. There are a number of options.

For example, with a licence, you grant one or more companies or individuals the right to manufacture and sell your product in exchange for royalties. The licence can apply nationally or to a specific geographic region.

Look for opportunities to sell or buy solutions for your business needs.

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