Secrets of Intellectual Property

A Guide for Small and Medium-Sized Exporters

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Guide in form of questions and answers dealing with intellectual property (IP) issues, aimed at small and medium-sized exporters and trade support institutions – explains basic concepts and principles regarding patents, trademarks, industrial designs, copyright, confidential business information, and geographical indications; covers questions relevant to ownership of rights by employees, contracting, licensing and technology transfer; highlights importance of IP issues when drawing business, marketing and export plans and strategies, and deals with IP rights protection abroad; looks at link between IP and quality regulations and standards, packaging and labelling, electronic commerce and use of information technology; considers valuation and financial aspects of IP rights; focuses on the application of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement).

English Spanish, French


How important is it to keep the design confidential before registration?

If you wish to protect your industrial design under a registration system, keeping the design confidential is absolutely crucial. The reason for this is that the central requirement for design protection is that the design must be ‘new’. If you show your creative design to others it is advisable to have written agreements clarifying that the design is confidential. A design that has already been disclosed to the public by, for example, advertising it in your company’s catalogue or brochure may no longer be considered ‘new’. It becomes part of the public domain and cannot be protected, unless the applicable law provides for a ‘grace period’.

English French, Spanish

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