How can the U.S. Government assist me in obtaining and protecting my intellectual property rights?

The Department of Commerce and other U.S. federal agencies stand ready to assist U.S. businesses with registering and enforcing their intellectual property rights (IPR), both here in the U.S. and in international markets.

Obtaining and Protecting IPR Abroad:

You can contact the U.S. Department of Commerce Office of Intellectual Property Rights (OIPR) for assistance in obtaining and protecting your intellectual property rights abroad. OIPR can help obtain information on the appropriate foreign IPR registering agencies and foreign IPR resources. OIPR can also provide guidance on other IPR-related issues to consider when exporting, such as conducting due diligence, working with legal counsel familiar with the laws of the country, and the utility in setting up strong contracts with foreign business partners.

OIPR can also assist you in developing an enforcement strategy. OIPR and Commerce’s country experts stand ready to work with U.S. firms to help them protect their intellectual property abroad. In many cases, OIPR can provide companies with information to aid in navigating a foreign government’s legal system, including lists of local investigative firms and attorneys, and share experiences and expertise in that country. However, the government cannot provide American companies with legal advice or advocate on a company's behalf when a matter is before a court or administrative agency. You can reach an OIPR trade specialist by telephone at (202) 482-1191 or using our Contact Us page.

In the event you have attempted to enforce your IPR through a foreign government’s legal system and the foreign government has failed to provide an adequate remedy, OIPR, in cooperation with its interagency colleagues, may be able to raise concerns related to the effective administration of legal remedies available to IPR holders with foreign government officials. Commerce’s efforts to assist with IPR disputes are aimed at achieving a fair and timely resolution in accordance with international commitments and foreign laws, and in advancing adequate legal and judicial protection for all parties

Obtaining and Protecting IPR in the U.S.:

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), another agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, can provide information on obtaining and protecting patents and trademarks in the U.S. USPTO can be reached via telephone at  (866) 999-HALT or its website: www.uspto.gov.

Other U.S. Government Agencies:

There are many U.S. Government agencies that work together to assist U.S. companies in obtaining and protecting intellectual property rights as well as combating global piracy and counterfeiting. For a listing of other agencies involved in these efforts, please visit our U.S. Government Agencies page.