Doing business overseas

2 IP Australia staff members having a meeting around a document

The rights we grant are valid in Australia only. If you are thinking about selling your product overseas you need to also think about IP protection to help establish your market position.

The first thing to consider when contemplating an export venture is whether you are free to operate in the country of interest without infringing an existing IP right.

Protect your IP overseas

To protect your IP overseas, you have two choices:

  • seek IP protection in each country according to the laws and conventions of that country
  • apply via one of the international agreements in place which often result in an easier process to obtain rights in other countries.

The first step is to develop an international IP strategy that suits you specific needs, goals, resources and identified markets. Developing an effective IP protection strategy will depend on your particular business.

An effective strategy might involve a range of IP options:

For example, you may take out a patent on a new product and register a trade mark on your brand. Or you may decide a patent is not worthwhile and enforce confidentiality agreements until you have built your brand recognition and loyalty in the market.

Things to bear in mind when protecting IP overseas

Once you apply for protection in one country, you may apply for protection in other member countries under international conventions, providing it is within the following time limits:

Your applications in those countries will have a 'priority date' which is the filing date of your original application.

While you can apply outside these time limits, you cannot obtain the benefit of the international convention. This means any earlier disclosure of your invention or design, including publication of an application, may invalidate your rights in those countries.

Not all countries are members of international agreements or conventions and any publication or use of your IP can prevent you obtaining protection in those countries.

Importing and Exporting

There are a range of issues to consider when importing and exporting.

We have also created specific exporting information for the countries listed below. This may help you understand IP issues when doing business overseas.

More information

Last Updated: 31/3/2014

Meet Lorelle
Bachelor of Arts (Asian Studies)

Trade Mark Examiner since 1993
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