Guide

Exporting and importing services

International services and intellectual property

Intellectual property can be an important part of what you have to offer, helping you stand out from the competition. For many services, a good reputation and a strong brand name is crucial to winning new customers.

If your business relies on its intellectual property, you may have already taken steps to protect it in the UK. But this may not protect you overseas. UK trade mark registration and patents only cover the UK. Copyright material is automatically protected in many countries.

If you think you can profit from selling your services overseas, it's worth ensuring that you have the right intellectual property protection. Read more about intellectual property protection overseas.

Licensing

You may be able to exploit your intellectual property overseas even if you have limited time and resources. For example, you could licence your intellectual property to an overseas partner. Instead of selling your own services, you receive a fee for letting your partner provide services using your intellectual property, eg trading using your brand name. See entering overseas markets.

If you are going to do this, you need a clear agreement covering issues such as what rights they have to use your intellectual property, who will own any modifications, and what payments you receive. You should take professional advice from an intellectual property lawyer with international experience.