Posts Tagged ‘World IP Day’

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Five Tips for Protecting Your Intellectual Property in Global Business

April 23, 2014

Ken Mouradian is the Director of the International Trade Administration’s Orlando Export Assistance Center.

You spent the time and money to build your business, including the development of products and services (patents, trade secrets and copyrights), business methods (trade secrets), brands (trademarks and service marks), and your presence on the Internet (trademarks and associated domain names, copyrights). Why wouldn’t you protect these Intellectual Property (IP) assets from unauthorized use?

Stopfakes.gov is your portal to resources for protecting intellectual property.Many small businesses are at a disadvantage in not having the expertise or resources to prevent theft of their intellectual property in the global marketplace. So in recognition of World IP Day on April 26, here are some simple, practical measures that any exporter can take to protect their IP assets:

  1. Conduct an IP audit. An IP audit will document the assets that you own, the assets that you may be acquiring, and how you’re using other people’s IP. It should support your export marketing plan, as an IP audit allows you to make business decisions about which assets to protect in each market. It doesn’t have to be elaborate; and it’s something that you can do yourself.
  2. Own your business… all of it! If you allow your foreign business partner to register your IP, in most foreign countries, they become the “right holder.” You need to register your own IP assets and record trademark and copyright registrations (and in some countries, design patents) with the customs administration to block the import and export of infringing items.
  3. Know your partners. Your local U.S. Export Assistance Center can help you to qualify existing or potential foreign business partners. Include provisions in your contracts that require the use of original and unaltered products and preclude the partners’ registration of your IP.
  4. Monitor the use of your IP. Plan to visit the market regularly; and use track-and-trace technology like RFID or bar codes to make it easier to audit products and spot fakes. Monitor domain names, e-commerce and auction platforms; and use Internet search engines – including image search – to find infringing products online. Include the obligation to report instances of infringement in your contracts with foreign business partners; and train business partners to spot fakes.
  5. Have an enforcement strategy. Make it part of your export marketing plan to know the administrative and legal relief available to you to enforce your Intellectual Property Rights in each export market. STOPfakes.gov offers country toolkits for select markets. You can also obtain country-specific information from U.S. embassies by contacting your local U.S. Export Assistance Center.

There is no substitute for qualified legal counsel. However, there is a lot that you can do yourself to get started. For more information, please visit www.STOPfakes.gov and the Inventors Resources Center from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

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World IP Day

April 24, 2009

Andrea Cornwell is an International Trade Specialist with the Office of Intellectual Property Rights in the International Trade Administration’s Market Access & Compliance unit.

Intellectual property surrounds us almost constantly. And it’s not just McDonald’s trademark Golden Arches or Apple’s patented iPod technology or Miley Cyrus’ latest copyrighted album. For instance, I would bet that you create content protected by copyright nearly every day. Have you written an email today? Have you doodled on your notebook during a meeting or class this week? Have you snapped a family photo recently? If so, then you’re an author – an author with a copyrighted work.

The fact that intellectual property rights (IPR) exist in so many facets of our daily lives just goes to show that our Founding Fathers were right – provide people with legal protection for their inventions and creative works, and technology will advance, knowledge will spread, and societies will progress. Did you know that our Constitution authorizes Congress to protect inventors’ and authors’ creative works? Or, that our current trademark law preserves a long American heritage of 120-plus years of protection for our entrepreneurs’ trade names, logos, and the like?

In fact, IPR is so essential to continued global development and trade that each year we celebrate World Intellectual Property Day on April 26th. This year, World IP Day focuses on Green Innovation and the important role of IPR in promoting the advancement and diffusion of increasingly critical technologies for the mitigation of climate change. This coincides nicely with widespread celebration of Earth Day on April 22nd, and provides us with an opportunity to proudly say that, as global environmental needs evolve, our American entrepreneurs are developing new means for addressing them. According to the House Small Business Committee, the renewable and efficiency industries, comprised of more than 90% small firms, created 8 million new jobs in 2006. The

U.S. Conference of Mayors estimates that by 2038, the American green tech industry’s development could add another 4.2 million jobs to the economy.

So, you see, the fundamental IPR principle established so many years ago still rings true today – IPR protection is essential to encouraging innovation and competitiveness. This is particularly relevant to the growing green tech industry, as both U.S. industry and our global community stand to see great benefits from new technologies and methods for addressing climate change. As Francis Gurry, Director General of the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization, recently said, “The power of human ingenuity is our best hope for restoring the delicate balance between ourselves and our environment.” This World IP Day, the International Trade Administration welcomes the celebration of Green Innovation and our green technology industry.

For more information on IPR and ITA’s activities related to IPR, please visit StopFakes.gov.

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