International Intellectual Property Law

In the trade and tariff negotiations of the 19th century, the protection of intellectual property rights at the international level has become an important issue. One of the first international treaties related to intellectual property is the International Convention for the protection of industrial property, also known as the Paris Convention. The treaty, written in 1883, protects patents, industrial models and designs, trademarks and trade names. The treaty has been signed by more than 100 countries and has been amended many times over the years to adapt to changing intellectual property law.

Right to national treatment:

This area of the treaty ensures that those seeking patents or trademarks in foreign countries are not discriminated against because they come from different countries. They will have the same rights as the citizens of the country.


This provision of the treaty gives the inventor one year (six months for a trademark or design application) from the date of filing a patent application in his own country to file an application in a foreign country. As long as the application is made within the protection period, the valid application date abroad will become the valid application date in the inventor’s home country. If the invention is made public before the inventor can apply for the home country, the inventor will lose the priority in the foreign country.

Despite these rules, the enforcement and protection of intellectual property rights at the international level remain extremely complex. Laws vary widely from country to country, and the political climate in each country often changes, thus affecting the extent of protection available.

After the adoption of the general agreement on Tariffs and trade (GATT) in 1994, many significant changes have taken place in US and international intellectual property law. The countries that signed the GATT committed to a higher degree of protection of intellectual property rights. Under the guidance of the World Trade Organization (WTO), member states are required to adopt specific provisions to strengthen the rights related to intellectual property rights and resolve disputes. It imposes international criminal penalties on anyone found to have abused trademarks and copyrights through forgery or piracy.

Lawyers can divide intellectual property into three parts: consultation, protection and enforcement.


Customer consultation focuses on how to best protect the intellectual property rights of specific customers. This can include searching for trademarks proposed by customers and advising them on the availability of those trademarks. In order to provide patent consultation to clients, lawyers must have technical background to correctly understand clients’ patents and evaluate their effectiveness and the possibility of obtaining patents.


Protecting the intellectual property rights of customers involves registering their trademarks, patents or copyrights to obtain the maximum available rights. For trademarks and patents, this means preparing and submitting applications to the USPTO and responding to actions issued by the USPTO.


The implementation of intellectual property involves the protection of customer IP from infringement. Sometimes this can lead to litigation in federal courts.

Other roles of IP lawyers may include licensing, due diligence on mergers or acquisitions, and developing strategies to protect their IP internationally and domestically.

If you want to know more about intellectual property law, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is a good place to start. The organization’s website is a forum for global intellectual property services, policies and information. They also host online seminars, seminars and training courses where you can learn more about specific intellectual property or laws in specific countries / regions.

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