Doing business abroad: Protecting your IP in the United States

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Doing business abroad: Protecting your IP in the United States

Intellectual property (IP) is a valuable asset that can support your business expansion abroad. A Canadian patent, trademark or industrial design does not secure your rights outside of Canada. You should consider obtaining IP protection in the countries where you plan on doing business, including selling products over the Internet and/or manufacturing products overseas.

Canada and the United States (U.S.) are among the world's largest trading partners. More than CAD$1.5 billion in goods and services are exchanged between the countries each day. It is important to know how to recognize, register and enforce your IP rights in the U.S. For the most part, the protection and registration process for IP in the U.S. is similar to that in Canada.

In the U.S., you can apply for trademark, patent and copyright protection.

Where is IP registered?

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the U.S. federal agency responsible for granting patents and registering trademarks. Copyright registration is administered by the United States Copyright Office.

Applications for patents and trademarks can be filed electronically, and copyright applications can be filed at Both organizations' websites also have online searchable databases. A good first step is to search existing IP to check whether your anticipated IP use may conflict with or infringe on someone's prior rights.



IP enforcement

There are numerous ways to enforce your rights against unauthorized use of your IP in the U.S.:

Tips: Important notes

For additional help:

* The information provided above is meant as an educational resource only and should not be construed as legal advice.

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