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Many companies, including U.S. companies, find manufacturing
abroad attractive because of its affordable costs, capacity, and
distribution networks. Typically discussions or negotiations with a
foreign manufacturer will concern the type of product to be
produced, which often involves providing the manufacturer with
sufficient detail to enable the manufacturer to provide a proposal.
These seemingly harmless discussions regarding necessary
manufacturing details may place a company’s intellectual
property rights at risk. For example, a company may be unable to
obtain or enforce a future patent for their product. Therefore,
companies should proceed with caution when disclosing information
to a foreign manufacturer—even a trusted
manufacturer—to bring a new product to market or they could
risk losing their intellectual property rights.
Based on our experience protecting clients’ intellectual
property rights in the U.S. and worldwide, we recommend taking
certain steps before, during, and after negotiations with a foreign
manufacturer. The attorneys of Dickinson Wright have developed an
international patent filing strategy by which we can expediently
obtain patent protection for our clients and prevent against the
potential risks of manufacturing abroad.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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