Law Library Articles

1. Register your IPR

An idea is NOT protectable and a product not registered as an IPR has no or little remedy against potential infringers. Therefore, registering a product BEFORE exhibiting at a Trade Show is key to effective IPR protection.

Scope of the protection: registration in one country DOES NOT provide protection in the rest of the world.

General international rules: A company has two options when it comes to registering IPR abroad:
To ensure full IPR protection in another country, a company can apply to register any IPR in that country. For more information about the specific intellectual property laws and requirements of individual countries, visit the WIPO Guide to Intellectual Property Worldwide.
This option can become challenging especially when a company needs to register its IPR in several countries.
However, when a country is signatory to one of the numerous IPR multilateral treaties (e.g. WTO, Berne and Paris Conventions…) the complexity of overseas filing is largely reduced; a registration in the jurisdiction designated by the treaty will grant IPR protection in all the signatory countries of the treaty. This is the easiest option and the most commonly adopted. It provides IPR protection in several countries with only one registration.

Registration in China: although China is a party to some of these multilateral treaties, a company must register its IPR with the appropriate Chinese agencies and authorities for those rights to be enforceable in China. For information on how to protect your IPR in China see the APPA webpage: Protecting Your Intellectual Property Rights in China: Guidelines

Registration in Europe: although it is possible to register in countries individually or, for EU-wide trademark and design protection, you might consider the Community Trademark (CTM) and Registered Community Design (RCD). These provide a single right that protects your industrial design or trademark in the entire EU. Both national trademarks and the CTM can be registered through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as part of an international trademark registration system .

2. Prepare non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements for employees to sign prior to attendance at trade shows. (patent, trade secret protection)

3. Consider whether it is appropriate for individuals outside of the organization to sign confidentiality agreements prior to disclosure of intellectual property to them. (patent, trade secret protection)

4. Advise employees in advance not to talk about sensitive business in public places. Provide employees with concrete and precise examples of what can and cannot be disclosed. (patent, trade secret protection)

5. Work with marketing department to ensure that sensitive business information is not disclosed in written materials, whereby the risks of revealing sensitive business information may outweigh the benefits of obtaining new business. (patent, trade secret protection)

6. Mark products with patent numbers, where applicable, and with trademark and copyright symbols, where appropriate, to show ownership of intellectual property. (patent, trademark, copyright protection)