Patents Trade Marks Designs Copyright

Exporting and Intellectual Property (Part 1)

April 07, 2014

This is the first article in a series of four discussing exporting and intellectual property in support of UK Trade & Investment's export week, running 7th - 11th April 2014.

There is currently a lot of talk in the UK about exports. This is particularly seen as a route to growth for our manufacturing base. The UK Government has set a target to double our 2012 export figure by 2020. UKTI and other agencies are leading campaigns to encourage exports. Does intellectual property (IP) have a role to play? Clearly, there are lots of factors to consider when embarking on an export drive. Language, culture, delivery, stock control, local representation, finance, tax and many other issues will need to be addressed. IP should also feature in this list. High on the list of IP issues for companies entering new markets is the possibility that you will be faced with new competitors and a new IP environment. You may be free to manufacture and sell your product in the UK but perhaps there is a relevant patent in the countries you intend to enter. You may own your trade marks and brands in the UK, but some branding (or something very similar) may be owned by others in other markets. In short, IP rights are based on national jurisdictions, so your freedom to operate in this country doesn’t automatically mean that you have freedom to operate in another country. It is prudent to assess these issues at an early stage. We’ll explore other aspects of exporting and IP in later postings.

In the meantime, if you wish to discuss your export plans in more detail, please contact your normal Swindell & Pearson Ltd attorney or at [email protected]. We want intellectual property to work for you, not against you.