Frances Salisbury discusses IP rights and why you should consider obtaining protection in different countries...
IP rights are national rights, meaning that they can be enforced against activities within a particular country. Obtaining rights in every country in the world is prohibitively expensive, but even at the early stages of a start-up it is worth thinking about protection abroad, focussing on countries where you will want to make or sell your product.
In some cases, the costs for obtaining protection in several countries can be deferred for a few years, until you have a better idea of the markets that are likely to be important.
You might also consider obtaining protection in countries where you do not intend to make or sell the product yourself, but where you might license a third party to use the technology. This might allow you to take a share of their profits from using your technology, but without having to take on any of the risks.
Tomorrow… IP protection.