International growth comes with a fair share of risk, not the least of which is someone stealing your ideas and turning a profit. Building a case for defense is possible, but there are plenty of boxes to check on your way to success.

Intellectual property theft takes billions from U.S. businesses every year. Protecting your ingenuity on your home soil can be a complicated process, but things get even trickier when you head overseas. There’s a whole world of rules and regulations, and you’ll want to make sure you understand which ones apply to you for defense on a global scale.

Territorial defense

The first step is to make sure your patent applies to the target area. There is no such thing as a universal patent, and you’ll have to get approval in any market you want protections. Some countries have their own systems, some are members of larger coalitions and some abide by overarching treaties.

Stale safeguards

Just because you submitted a patent application doesn’t mean the protections will be there for you. There could be plenty of situations that jeopardize your patent:

  • Unpaid maintenance fees
  • Improper publication of invention details
  • Missed time frames for manufacturing requirements

These aren’t always a death sentence for your safeguards but could leave an opening for the competition. Your patent may survive something like a failure to begin local manufacturing, but the side-effect could be that anyone that applies for a license to produce under your patent can get one. This leaves you little room for defending your position.

Whatever your international position, it’s essential to understand how you can defend your ideas overseas. Make sure you know when you’re standing on firm ground, and you could get compensation when someone profits off your patents.