What Indian companies need to know about protecting their intellectual property around the world. By Nandini Lakshman

Last year, India adopted the Madrid Protocol agreement for the international registration of marks. India’s accession couldn’t have been better timed. Indian companies have been expanding their business globally and brand owners are increasingly aware of the benefits of protecting their trademarks both at home and abroad.

Indian drug maker Wockhardt, for instance, has filed 2,000 patent applications globally and been granted 270 patents in the past five years, says Mandar Kodgule, the company’s vice president and head of global IP and strategy planning.

United States

The US continues to be the biggest export market for Indian companies, with software and technology high on the list. For foreign IP owners the pressing challenge is to clearly understand the US patent application process, which changed last year from a first-to-invent to a first-to-file system, says William Borchard, a New York-based counsel at Cowan Liebowitz & Latman. The firm handles all the US trademark work for ITC, an Indian tobacco and fast-moving consumer goods conglomerate.

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