Protecting your UK intellectual property abroad

To protect your intellectual property outside of the UK, you usually need to apply in each country you want protection in.



Intellectual property (IP) rights are territorial. They only give protection in the countries where they are granted or registered.

IP BASICS: Should I protect my Intellectual Property overseas?

If you only have UK protection, others may be allowed to use your IP abroad without infringing your rights.

The above guides contain information on European Union Trade Mark, Patent Cooperation Treaty, European patent application, Registered Community Design.

If you are thinking about trading abroad then you should consider registering your IP rights abroad.

Some countries may allow you to extend your United Kingdom (UK) protection, and accept it as protected in that country after completing certain local formalities.

The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) provides a list of all national IP offices. WIPO also provides a range of services for businesses looking to protect their IP internationally.

Published 19 May 2014
Last updated 1 July 2022 + show all updates
  1. Section 'Filing PCT applications electronically' added to the HTML

  2. Protecting your trade mark abroad, subheadings How to apply for an international trade mark and After you apply, updated.

  3. Protecting your design and trade mark abroad updated.

  4. Protecting your patent abroad: section Patent Cooperation Treaty section updated, to include Gibraltar and Guernsey from the 1st January 2021. Protecting your trade mark abroad - 2. International trade mark protection. Protecting your design abroad 3.2 How to apply for an International Design updated. From 1st January 2021 Protection of Copyright abroad is governed by international law. The IPO's online guidance has been amended to remove references to EU Directives and Regulations.

  5. Edited Protecting your trade mark abroad guidance, Section 3.4 - Professional Representation before the EUIPO and Protecting your design abroad guidance, Section 2.4 - Professional Representation before the EUIPO.

  6. The London office address has moved.

  7. International design protection updated.

  8. International trade mark applications can now be emailed to the UKIPO.

  9. Video added to detail section 'IP BASICS: Should I protect my Intellectual Property overseas?'.

  10. New text added at: 2.3 Filing your community trade mark application through us and at 3.2 How to apply for an international trade mark.

  11. Protecting your patent aborad: £5:fees for preparation of earlier search documents

  12. Link to MM2 application form added to trade marks publication.

  13. First published.