Natwest: Protecting your SME’s IP rights overseas

Date: July 22, 2019

Selling in more than one market is a key step for many SME owners as their businesses grow, but it’s important to protect your IP overseas. Here’s how to do so successfully.

Expanding your business into foreign markets is an exciting prospect, but failure to protect your intellectual property (IP) may expose you to some unpleasant surprises. These range from discovering competitors with identical names to the outright theft of your invention, possibly leading to reputation-damaging counterfeits. So how should you protect your business as you expand abroad?

“There really are no more or no fewer challenges to consider when entering international markets than when launching in your home market,” says angel investor John Stapleton, a prominent entrepreneur in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and food-and-drink sectors.

“Assets that are constantly on display [designs, symbols, logos, strap lines, ways of describing product or brand claims and USPs] are best protected in a legal fashion – for example, trademarks or copyright,” he says. “But that’s not the only way to protect these visible IP assets. It’s worth adding confidentiality footers to communications with third parties about your products.”

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