SMEs who decide to export are exposed to significant IP theft risks

The International Trade Administration calls IP theft one of the top problems faced by U.S. exporters today. The FBI considers IP theft a high priority, reporting that counterfeiting costs US businesses billions of dollars in lost revenues annually. According to an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune: the smaller the company, “the bigger the threat.”

Large U.S. companies protect the value of their IP by filing for patents in every country they do business, registering their trademarks, and filing lawsuits whenever they spot infringement. Unfortunately, the costs of doing so are too prohibitive to small businesses. The defending a patent in court can cost a firm millions of dollars.

Government authorities recommend small business file for patent and trademark protection in every country where they wish to do business, thereby taking advantage of whatever help the respective countries can offer in terms of enforcement.

Valuators performing IP valuation due diligence need to learn where companies do business, where they want to do business, and what steps have been taken to protect the IP in those countries.