For the vast majority of large companies and SMEs, turning to markets abroad as a business strategy is, has been and is going to be of vital importance for their survival and turnover.
It is well known that during these years of economic crisis that we have been suffering in our country, opening up our companies to the international market has meant an opportunity to export their products, know-how and services.
This is where the tourism sector plays an important role as it is a pioneer in opening up business beyond our borders. I am not just referring to the hotel sector (the pioneer) but companies from other sectors such as industry and technology (this latter is very important in the Balearic Islands for example, as they already have the know-how and years of experience offering solutions to hostelry and other companies related to tourism such as ports and airports, etc.).
When it comes to internationalising companies it is of utmost importance to pay attention to several aspects related to Intellectual Property to go abroad with the sufficient guarantees and security:
1. Have a strategy to protect our products and services at least in the medium-term. Before landing in a certain country, we should have protected our trademark of products or services to avoid legal or marketing problems in the destination country.
2. Properly protect territorial domains in accordance with our trademark protection policy in those countries, to secure and cover the sale or online presence of our products or services.
3. Have a defence or protection strategy for our trademark of products or services for some markets where we are not currently present but which are of interest (in terms of defence or protection) for having our brand registered.
These include: markets such as China, countries with significant medium-term development as a tourist destination and even significant geographical areas in terms of tourism, where it is important to assess having our trademark registered there simply due to the fact that a third party, unrelated to our company, could use our trademark and benefit from the knowledge of it in other destination countries.
4. Ensure proper monitoring of our trademark and domains worldwide. In such a highly globalised market and where the presence on social networks and the internet is as necessary as it is dangerous, we must monitor our trademarks and domains to be able to detect any infringement of our Copyrights.
This includes monitoring our trademarks to detect requests for the registration of similar to them in other countries, worldwide surveillance to similarly detect any possible cases of unfair competition (acting under the guise of our company to attempt to deceive the consumer, for example) or, increasingly more demanded the service for monitoring our reputation on the internet.
This is precisely due to the aforementioned: our tourism or hotel trademark, for example, are increasingly more present on the internet given that online marketing is of great importance for this sector and widely developed... this is where we have to provide our trademark with more security and cover: carrying out an exhaustive follow up of the presence of it on the net (tourism websites managing reservations where comments can appear spring to mind).
5. For the correct legal protection of our Intellectual Property assets in these markets: it is imperative to have contracts for the licensing or use of our trademarks by third parties, for example, estimating what we are granting them for, for what aspects or parameters, in which geographical area and for how much time, adding of course the economic remuneration for such.
It is also very important here to obtain the correct economic evaluation of our assets as trademarks in these markets, including the royalties’ procurement reports, to be able to obtain and reflect the correct flow of income and expenses for these intangible assets in our balance sheets.
In summary and conclusion, the tourism sector, with its hotel companies and accompanying industry are a good example of how trademarks can be successfully internationalised and suitably protected in the markets where they are present and in some in which they are not as we have seen above, obtaining the maximum protection of their Copyrights.