Protecting your intellectual property in export markets
Consider taking steps to protect your intellectual property before you export abroad.
Although Canada has ratified several treaties dealing with IP, you are still required to officially register your IP in a foreign country before your property is protected there. Copyrights are an exception to this rule. When you register for copyright protection in Canada, your protection is valid in any country that has signed the Berne Copyright Convention or other copyright treaties.
Registering your IP in a foreign country
Before registering with a foreign intellectual property office, conduct some research. You can take advantage of resources like IP registration databases to help you identify potential partners or competitors. This can also help you avoid infringing on the IP of others.
Registering your IP abroad is fairly straightforward. Many countries are members of treaties or conventions to which Canada is also a party. Quite often, simply proving that your intellectual property is registered in Canada is all you need to be recognized in one of these countries.
For countries where there is no agreement in place, you will want to look into the relevant laws, and be sure you have everything you need before starting the registration process. Avoid sharing any details about your intellectual property until you start the registration process.
Seeking professional or legal advice is recommended.
Learn more about protecting your IP in a foreign country:
- Intellectual property for exporting businesses
If you are an exporter, find out how you can protect your intellectual property outside of Canada.
- World Intellectual Property Organization
Find answers to your questions on intellectual property and trade secrets at the international level, as well as intellectual property research and training.
- Canadian Intellectual Property Office
If you want to protect your invention or creative work, this organization will provide you with what you need to protect your intellectual property rights.
- Global patent protection: Patent Prosecution Highway
Fast-track your patent application in a participating country once another participating country's IP office has approved your claim.
- Step-by-Step Guide to Exporting
Find out what you need to know about exporting, including international market research, export planning, marketing, finances, logistics and legal aspects.
- Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS)
Get market and sector-specific information, access to Canadian trade commissioners’ contact information and list of events through the TCS website.
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