The Eight IP Questions You Should Ask Before Starting Business in a New Country

The eight IP questions you should be asking before you bring your business into a foreign country

As companies transition out of China and move elsewhere, my law firm’s international IP attorneys are helping them protect their IP during and after this transition.

The following are the eight questions we suggest companies starting a business in a foreign country should ask about their own intellectual property before they start doing business in that foreign country, be it Mexico, Spain, Japan, Thailand or wherever.

1. Can we adopt, use and register as trademarks the names we want to use for our products or services in the foreign country?

2. Is any aspect of our IP new, inventive and useful and therefore potentially patentable in the foreign country or anywhere else relevant to our business?

3. Have we instituted procedures to keep our potentially patentable inventions confidential until a patent application may be filed?

4. Are there any third party patents that could prevent us from selling our services or products in the foreign country or even from manufacturing our products there or anywhere else?

5. What aspects of our products or services are protected by copyright?

6. Is the design of our product protectable as a design patent in the foreign country or elsewhere?

7. Are there any third party design registrations that could prevent us from selling our product in the foreign country or elsewhere?

8. Do we have written agreements with our foreign country employees and manufacturers that clearly assign to us any IP we create with them and that provide for maintaining the confidentiality of our information and our trade secrets?

Your thoughts?