Guide

Intellectual property protection overseas

Introduction

The unique ideas, products and information, which are assets and add commercial value to your business, are known as intellectual property (IP). IP includes copyrights, patents, trademarks, design and plant breeders' rights, plant variety protections and logos.

IP rights are territorial, which means that if you have registered protection in the UK, it only applies within the UK.

Increasingly, even small businesses are operating beyond national boundaries, and the internet is accelerating this trend. If you trade internationally in a product or service and want to stop other people exploiting your ideas, you should consider applying for IP protection overseas as well as in the UK.

Under European Union law, HM Revenue & Customs has the power to protect your business' IP against illegal imports.

This guide helps you decide whether you need to consider IP protection in other countries. It explains what to do if you feel your IP rights have been infringed, what customs officers will do to help you, and how you can help them. The guide also outlines the different forms that are available and explains where to go for further help and advice.