Gain protection in other countries
Regardless of whether you have a trademark, patent or a design, it is important that you protect your asset in the country in which you are considering operating. Here, you will find information on various paths you can follow in order to protect your product or service in another country.
It is important that you register your trademark in the countries in which you sell or manufacture your product or service. This will ensure not only that you do not infringe anyone else’s exclusive rights, but also of course that you will have exclusive rights to your trademark in the market.
Within the EU
If you want to protect your trademark throughout the EU, you must submit your application to the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). You will then apply for something called an EU trademark.
You can also apply for what is known as an international registration. You submit your application to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). However, you must start by submitting an application to either PRV or EUPIPO, as it is this application which your application to WIPO will be based on. If you decide to go via PRV, you should submit your application for international protection to us. In your application, you should state the countries in which the protection is to apply. You have over 100 countries and interstate organisations (such as the EU and BeNeLux) to choose between.
The basic principle is that you should protect your invention in the countries in which you are considering operating, e.g. through manufacturing or selling your product. In brief, where you do not want anyone else to make money out of your invention.
There are a number of paths you can follow when you want to protect your invention abroad.
An international application, known as a PCT application, can give you protection in around 140 countries, including Sweden. A PCT application is not actually a patent application, but you will receive a report which will provide you with guidance when you then apply for patents in the countries which are members of PCT. Applying via PCT is a good idea if you want to win some time before you decide which countries to apply for patents in, or if you want to defer the expenses for a large number of national patent applications.
You can also apply for patents via the European Patent Office (EPO). They will review and assess your patent application and can grant patents for almost 40 Member States (including Sweden). Submitting a European application is a good idea if your market is situated in Europe, or if you want to reach out to a number of countries in Europe through a single application.
Patent in an individual country
If you know that your market only exists in a few countries, you can apply directly to the patent authorities of the countries concerned. Applying for a patent in an individual country is a good idea if you are only planning to apply for protection in a few countries or if you know that there is only a market for your invention in a particular country.
In addition to the alternatives described above, there are also a number of extra-European regional patent authorities. For more information, see the websites of the respective authorities.
ARIPO: The African Regional Industrial Property Organization, covers around 15 countries, mainly English-speaking countries in Africa.
OAPI: Organisation Africaine de la Propriéte Intellectuelle, covers around 15 French-speaking countries in Africa.
EAPO: Eurasian Patent Organization, covers around ten of the former Soviet states.
GCCP: Gulf Cooperation Council Patent Office, covers a number of Arabic countries.
It is important that you register your design in the countries in which you sell or manufacture your product or service. This will ensure not only that you do not infringe anyone else’s exclusive rights, but also of course that you will have exclusive rights to your design in the market.
There are three paths you can follow in order to register a design internationally:
Directly to an individual country
If you know that you only want to apply for design protection in a single country, you can submit your application directly to the intellectual property authority in the country concerned.
Within the EU
You can apply to register your design in all the EU’s Member States. You should then send your application to the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
If you want to apply in a number of countries outside the EU, via WIPO, you can apply for an international registration in one or more of the countries which are affiliated to the Geneva Convention. With just a single application, you can obtain protection for your design in over 65 countries. You submit your application for international registration to WIPO.
Limited design protection
You can also obtain limited design protection without applying for it. Within the EU, there is a Regulation on Community designs. Among other things, this Regulation means that you can obtain certain limited protection for your design without having to do anything other than publish it. This protection only lasts for three years. If you want longer and more comprehensive protection, you must apply to register your design protection within one year from the date on which you published the design.