Creating your exporting strategyAny successful exporting operation starts with a strong export plan, which outlines the markets your business is targeting, the estimated demand and so on. Within this plan, IP should be considered throughout, as it plays a key role in a number of areas. For instance, if your company will need to secure investment to begin its exporting mission then holding patents, design registrations and trade mark rights is a way to enhance your competitiveness and convince investors that your product or service could be a success abroad.
Intellectual property auditThe world contains millions of products and services, each with their own innovations and unique selling points. Therefore, when considering whether to export it?s important to conduct any third-party IP audit. First, start with your own business: Are your assets protected and are those rights being maintained? Then, it?s important to check whether the product could be infringing any third-party IP rights in your target export markets. For this, we would recommend seeking the help from a local IP attorney who will help you confirm you have the right to export your product without causing any infringement, helping you avoid any costly situations for your business.
Think global, act localIf you have the IP rights for the UK, these rights do not necessarily transfer across borders. They are territorial, and only apply to the country or region they have been granted for. If you wish to seek more international IP rights, then you have to obtain these through the relevant channels. To do this, the easiest way is to use a globally–connected IP firm which can help you obtain the international protection your products or services require.
It?s all about the timingTiming is very important when it comes to IP protection abroad, as there are strict deadlines for applying for your required IP. The priority period can vary depending on the type of protection but, if you make an application for a patent or design domestically, deadlines apply for international submission of the same application. For patents, you must apply for international rights within 12 months, which reduces to six months when it comes to a design. If that time has lapsed, then it can be too late to apply overseas. Following these steps should put your business in a good position to not only capitalise on the export opportunities available in foreign markets, but stop you inadvertently infringing the rights of others, or foreign competitors taking advantage of your innovation. Matthew Shaw is equity partner at IP consultancy Forresters Our recent webinar revealed how intellectual property can unlock the potential in your business, and provided a list of action points that can put straight into practice.
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