Not everyone needs international protection for their intellectual property (IP). Yet many companies find out too late that they should have taken it out.
Whether you need it depends upon your ambitions. If you are certain you will never want to expand into the overseas market, then there is probably no need for it. Yet even then, there are circumstances where it could be useful.
Circumstances when international protection would help
For most people, the decision comes down to whether you intend to manufacture your product in another country or export it there. There are almost 200 hundred countries in the world, each with its own IP laws, so you probably cannot afford the time or money to protect your IP in all of them. Consider:
- If you may ever want to sell your company to a global buyer. If you plan to sell your company one day, you might be able to attract more money from a buyer who has big plans to take your product to a global market. If they find someone has already copied or trademarked your ideas in their target countries, they may withdraw their interest.
- If someone overseas is likely to take your name and use it in a way that could harm your good name here in the U.S. For example, an overseas company setting up a porn site with the same name as your U.S based company is unlikely to be good for business, regardless of the industry you are in.
These are not the only reasons why getting international protection would be helpful. Getting legal help to understand more about protecting your intellectual property overseas can help you make the decisions that are right for your company.