Protecting Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Abroad

Globalization and the rapid proliferation of technology have elevated the importance of intellectual property protection for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The intangible nature of intellectual property and the worldwide lack of standard practices create challenges for U.S. businesses wishing to protect their inventions, brands, and business methods in foreign markets. The three most common vehicles for protecting intellectual property are patents, trademarks, and copyrights. This article is intended to provide exporters with a brief overview of intellectual property rights and the methods being employed to protect those rights internationally.

Article: Protecting Intellectual Property Rights Abroad

Learn how to obtain and protect a patent, trademark or copyright in another country.

Transatlantic IPR Resource Portal

The U.S. Department of Commerce and the European Commission’s Directorate General (DG) for Enterprise and Industry have developed the Transatlantic IPR Resource Portal to make it easier for transatlantic small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to find and use the resources that both governments have developed to protect and enforce intellectual property rights. The portal was developed by the Market Access and Compliance (MAC) unit of Commerce’s International Trade Administration in collaboration with DG Enterprise’s Competitiveness Policy unit.

Report IPR Infringement

You can report suspicions concerning the manufacture or sale of counterfeit or pirated goods to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center. The IPR Center is a task force that uses the expertise of its member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, and conduct investigations related to intellectual property theft.  -Report theft of intellectual property to federal law enforcement at the IPR Center Hotline (1-866-IPR-2060 or 1-866-477-2060) or via email at

Report Barriers to Protecting Your IPR Abroad

If you feel your company’s intellectual property rights have been, or may be adversely affected by foreign intellectual property protection and enforcement practices, you may file a complaint electronically with the Office of Intellectual Property Rights within the International Trade Administration.