Are you considering approaching a global market with your business?

For Australian businesses, exporting to overseas markets presents an attractive opportunity for growth, and grants access to new and potentially bigger or more lucrative markets around the world.

However, in a rush to grasp the global opportunity, some businesses can unwittingly expose themselves to significant risk by not protecting their intellectual property (IP).

My IP is already protected in Australia. Why do I need to protect it for international use?

When a business protects its IP in Australia, this protection is exclusively for the Australian market and does not extend beyond our shores. This means that, unless you have your IP protected in the relevant jurisdiction, third parties may have the opportunity to use your IP to make and sell products in that jurisdiction. It can also mean that you will be unable to use your IP in those markets if someone else already owns the IP right. In this case, you may have to consider changing your IP to avoid infringement, licensing or purchasing your IP back, or even risk being sued for IP infringement.

Even if you are not intending to export your IP straight away, having global IP protection for your invention, design or brand may help preserve your ability to do so in the future.

I want to protect my IP in international markets. How do I get started?

There is no single international registration mechanism that will provide you with rights across the globe, however, there are international systems that make it easier to obtain and manage rights in multiple countries at the same time through a single platform.

Navigating global IP registration can be a complex process, so IP Australia has created detailed resources to help guide you. IP Australia provides guidance on how to approach a global market with your IP, as well as detailed profiles on how to apply for IP rights in popular markets, such as Canada, Indonesia and New Zealand.

Where can I learn more?

To learn more about protecting your IP internationally, see IP Australia’s guide to taking your IP global.

If you need help specific to your business or situation, it is recommended that you seek advice from an IP professional.