One of the last things people consider when looking at considering expanding their operation internationally, is how well their intellectual property is protected. But the more successful a company is, the more valuable its brands, designs and technology become, and the more likely it is that someone will try to cash in on that success.
One of the most common oversights made buy those new to export is to assume that they have the right to use their brand names overseas.
If a third party has already registered your brand (or something similar) as a trade mark in your chosen target market, they have a monopoly on its usage and can stop you trading with it, or charge you handsomely for the privilege of using it. Occasionally, a re-brand is the only option.
Brand hijacking is a new but growing problem – particularly in the Far East. It is possible to make a very comfortable living out of spotting businesses with export potential, registering their brand names as trade marks in overseas territories before they do, and demanding a large sum to allow them to use the brand or to sell it to them.
The only way to avoid falling victim is to get there first and secure ownership of your brand by registration wherever you can realistically envisage your business operating.
Topics: Getting Started, Product Development, Protecting IP Abroad, and Sales & Marketing