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Most U.S. small businesses are not aware that their U.S. patent or trademark does not protect them in other countries. If you are an exporter, or think you might want to export in the future, you will need to seriously consider securing protection for your intellectual property (IP) in those foreign markets of interest to you. It is a good idea to get the appropriate forms of IP protection before you start doing business in another country.
Some U.S companies have found that foreign manufacturers have copied their products, packaging and business plans, even though they had never done business abroad. Foreign counterfeiters can easily steal your product pictures, brochures and logos from your website and register the material as their own inventions in their country, if you have not registered it there already. For this reason, some U.S. small companies seek trademark and patent protection in large potential markets well in advance of actually exporting to those markets.