How can I prevent intellectual property theft abroad?

Many small companies experience difficulty protecting their IPR abroad, including in China, as they are not aware of how to obtain and enforce rights in foreign markets. Some basic, often low-cost, steps small companies should consider include:

  • Working with legal counsel to develop an overall IPR protection strategy;
  • Developing detailed IPR language for licensing and subcontracting contracts;
  • Conducting due diligence of potential foreign partners (The U.S. Commercial Service can help, see;
  • Recording their U.S.-registered trademarks and copyrights with Customs and Border Protection ($190); and
  • Securing and registering patents, trademarks, and copyrights in key foreign markets, including defensively in countries where IPR violations are common.