The World Trade Organization (WTO) ensures basic intellectual property right protection for all WTO members through the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs). Anything from news media and artistic work all the way to computer programs are protected under copyright through the TRIPs agreement. Trademark laws under TRIPs ensures brand protection, so your logo and marketing designs are protected. And if your business revolves around a new technology, whether it be in biotech or a new drone hardware application, a patent under TRIPs will give you the coverage to allow your product to be traded without risk of unlawful replication. These are the basic IP coverages that the TRIPs agreement offers. But did you know that there are some lesser known but equally important elements of TRIPs that could affect your business? Below are three components of trips that often go overlooked. Making TRIPs work to your advantage could give you the peace of mind you need to take your idea across the globe and find the customers or partners that will take it to the next level. Protecting Sensitive Information When doing business abroad, it is often necessary to share sensitive information with a business partner. Under TRIPs that information is protected. Whether it is business plans or organizational ideas, undisclosed information is legally bound to be kept within the relationship in which it was entrusted. Research and Development can fall under this protection as well. All product testing and data that is sensitive and needs to be shared is legally required to stay undisclosed by the receiving party. Delegating the Rights to Your Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Through anti-competitive licensing you can allow other parties to use your product without risk of theft. Of course, this law can be overridden by governments if it infringes on technology transfer or unlawfully creates barriers to competition. TRIPs was designed with the symbiotic benefit of technology transfer to less developed countries in mind. So, while the design of your product will be protected, the educational value and use of the technology should be shared with those involved in developing nations. There are also incentives under the policies that promote the contribution to innovative technologies in those countries. While technology transfer is a major component, TRIPs was designed to do everything possible to allow businesses to bring their ideas abroad and make financial gains while increasing development. Enforcement Under section III, TRIPs ensures that the WTO member country’s government is required to enforce these basic Intellectual property rights. The agreement provides specific regulations on what falls under its jurisdiction, how it should be enforced, and any steps to be taken if intellectual properties are infringed upon. Governments are also required at the customs level to combat piracy at ports and trade areas. If governments fail to provide these basic protections for IP, they risk compromising their membership with the WTO.
By Peter Cohen - September 12, 2018 (Cover Photo By: Ivan Bandura, retrieved from unsplash.com)
When one thinks of international business, imagery of high rises and bustling urban environments with developed financial systems first comes to mind. But in a world more connected than ever, we can increase the field of view and expand horizons. Emerging markets are where this expansion is occurring. Of course, there are always good reasons for businesses to remain static and established in traditional environments. These include regulatory safety, state stability, and access to market information. However, some emerging economies are making strides in all three areas. When considered in concert with their growing consumer populations, these markets truly represent the next frontier.
Thijs Degenkamp At OTH, International our formula of distilled quantitative and qualitative analysis matches industry sectors to overseas markets. For several sectors we have identified three emerging markets to look out for as of late: India, Rwanda, and Vietnam. Based on demographic trends, local public policies, and promising macroeconomic indicators, these destinations could be the next thriving markets for international business.
While India’s position as an ‘emerging’ economy is perhaps debatable, it is still referenced in many headlines as such. India has the second largest population in the world, giving it massive competitive advantage in terms of labor force. Many experts say that India’s population has one of the fastest growing middle classes to date. With that being said, the locus of India’s income distribution remains a highly contested discussion. Matching this growing population, GDP grew at a comparable rate. Based on data from the World Bank, India’s annual growth rate was at about 6.6% in 2017 and is expected to rise to 7.3% in 2018. Finally, India has made reforms in the last year, increasing its ease of doing business considerably. Some of those reforms include issue areas such as starting a business, paying taxes, and conducting cross-border trade (World Bank, 2018).
Sai Kiran Anagani
Africa is often overlooked when it comes to deciding where to do business next, but there are some booming economies on the continent. Some of these lean more towards the frontier market definition and involve more risk, but still show great potential. Rwanda is at the forefront of those African markets. Sadly, in some circles Rwanda is still plagued by the negative reputation of its 1990s genocide. Currently, though, the nation’s ICT, coffee, tourism, and mining industries show tremendous growth, and are renewing its reputation and drawing the attention of many. The regulatory environment is also highly welcoming in this East African state. It boasts an impressive ranking of 40th on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index. For those who are looking to do business in Sub-Saharan Africa, one might seriously consider Rwanda as a starting place.
Many argue that China is the world’s fastest growing economy. While this may be true, the PRC remains vastly unopen to the outside economic community. On the other hand, its neighbor, Vietnam, has a similar growth trajectory and the potential to offer better commercial prospects. According to an article written by the World Bank, Vietnam is projected to have a staggering 6.8% increase to its GDP in 2018. Coupled with a labor population trending away from agriculture to more efficient manufacturing industries, this economic growth is likely to stand for the coming years. Trade and labor reforms are occurring, albeit slowly. With that being said, the regulatory environment in Vietnam will likely improve as government shows much more commitment to economic openness than China. Compared to some of the more conventional overseas markets, these three economies show potential and perhaps represent undiscovered frontiers. For the small to medium-sized business owner, they could offer access to new revenue streams. If improved human capital, increasing manufacturing industries, and political and economic openness continue to rise in these states, their economic environments are also sure to thrive in the coming years.
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