World Intellectual Property Organization

Protecting the Intellectual Property Rights of Your SME Abroad

Why Should Your SME Protect its IP Abroad?

Sooner or later, many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operate in more than one market selling their products or services or licensing/franchising their intellectual property (IP) rights and know-how beyond their national borders. IP rights, however, are territorial, implying that they are usually only protected in the home country or region where protection has been applied for and obtained. Protecting IP in export markets is therefore crucial so as to enjoy the same benefits of protection abroad as are enjoyed on the domestic market. You should carefully consider applying for IP protection well in time in all countries to which you are likely to export or license your product or service in the foreseeable future (see "How can Intellectual Property Enhance the Export Opportunities of Your SME?").

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