Why do I need to protect my product design internationally as Design Patents?
Design protection in one country does not provide protection in other countries. Protecting your design internationally is important if you offer your products or services in other regions, as it helps protect and enforce your designs abroad.
Understanding design law in each country is important before using a mark outside the U.S. U.S. design rights are based on use, whereas in many other countries it is based on filing. Therefore if you plan to eventually launch your brand overseas after a successful U.S. campaign, it may be wise to file internationally before a competitor can use the goodwill you've established in the U.S. and file for the same mark in another country.
By international treaties, design applicants are allowed to use the filing date of their original design application (eg., your U.S. application) when filing internationally if that subsequent filing is submitted within six (6) months of the original filing. Claiming priority in an international filing can be a strategic advantage because it establishes the earliest possible filing date, reducing the risk that a third-party will preempt your foreign application by filing a similar design. Claiming priority also allows applicants to greatly reduce capital outlay by spreading the costs of filing over six months rather than filing simultaneously.
By working with counsel to develop an overall intellectual property strategy, businesses can better enforce their rights in foreign markets and secure and register designs in key foreign markets, including defensively in countries where violations are common.
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