A world of IP challenges

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Burgeoning exports of services have put a spotlight on safeguarding Indian intellectual property rights abroad. George W Russell assesses the key risks that Indian IP owners face in other jurisdictions and introduces some of the local advisers who stand ready to assist

India’s software, technology and services business is booming. Data released by the country’s Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion show sales to more than 140 countries in 2012.

John Olsen, a partner in the London office of US firm Edwards Wildman Palmer, notes that India’s transformation from being an IP consumer to an IP owner throws up a host of challenges, not least the need for Indian companies to uphold their IP rights around the world.

“We are currently assisting a well-known Indian IT company in a trademark infringement and passing off claim against a British company that has adopted a similar name,” says Olsen.

Cases like this still occur less frequently than the reverse. “Indian companies seek IP protection in Canada relatively infrequently but Canadian companies routinely seek IP protection in India,” says Karl Gustafson, a partner at McMillan, an IP firm that has represented Indian clients.

A world of IP challenges-Karl Gustafson

“Many Indian firms are growing so fast in India and seeing great success that they are not thinking about the market potential outside India,” says Jonathan Atkinson, a partner at Harrison Goddard Foote in the UK city of Leeds.

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