But small businesses that export still know little about protecting intellectual property.
October was a big month for action on a large scale regarding intellectual property (IP) with the creation of a new IP Czar in the United States and a major effort by the International Chamber of Commerce to set IP guidelines worldwide, but it is unclear whether small businesses have grasped the problem of counterfeiting and fakes.
Research conducted in the spring of 2005 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office indicates that only 15% of small businesses that do business overseas know that a U.S. patent or trademark provides protection only in the United States.
For bigger businesses, President George W. Bush signed into law a bill that stiffens penalties on movie and music piracy at the federal level. The law creates an intellectual property czar who will report directly to the president. The czar – or czarina – will suggest how to better protect copyrights both domestically and internationally.
The Recording Industry Association of America and Motion Picture Association of America backed the bill, as did the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
"By becoming law, the PRO-IP Act sends the message to IP criminals everywhere that the U.S. will go the extra mile to protect American innovation," said Tom Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The International Chamber of Commerce’s BASCAP group in October released a set of intellectual property (IP) guidelines designed to deter trade in counterfeit and pirate goods. Its suggestions are accessible at http://www.uscib.org/index.asp?documentID=3834
Guidelines for small businesses also are available at http://www.stopfakes.gov/