The simple answer: you register your Intellectual Property wherever you will use it.
First, you identify what type of registration corresponds to your intangible property. Second, identify whether your market or audience will be local, national, regional, or global.
1. Identify the type of registration
Let us divide this into two parts, first the Industrial Property and then the Copyright.
Industrial Property, which mainly comprises patent, utility model, industrial design, and distinctive signs (such as trademarks), regularly needs to be registered to be protected. In five lines:
- The patent protects inventions
- The utility model protects minor inventions that improve a technical function
- The industrial design protects the aesthetics of an article
- The trademark protects the sign that identifies a product or service
- The geographical indication protects the sign that identifies the characteristics given by geographical origin
Copyright and related rights are usually protected from their creation, although the best way to prove authorship is through registration. In two lines:
- Copyright protects literary or artistic works
- Related Rights protect those who produce, record, broadcast or perform the works
(Some countries require copyright registration to initiate legal proceedings.)
2. Identify the market or audience
If it is local or national or regional, you must do so before the administrative authority in charge. For guidance, you can consult the list of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
To register in more than one place, it is recommended that you take advantage of international treaties that allow you to manage multiple registrations in multiple countries. Here are some examples:
- Patents: Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
- Industrial designs: The Hague System
- Brand: The Madrid System
- Geographical indications: The Lisbon System
Please note that these treaties only apply to the countries that have accepted them.
If it is “worldwide” because your work or business has an online presence, you can also opt for alternative tools, for example, WIPO PROOF or Blockchain. These can help you to demonstrate the moment of creation of your intangible asset, as well as its creative or inventive evolution.