Provides advice on IPR protection, including information on the registration of patents and trademarks.
It is vital for companies to understand that IP is primarily a private right, and it is the responsibility of the rights holder to register, protect, and enforce their rights where relevant, retaining their own counsel and advisors.
Intellectual property rights must be registered in Finland to be enforced under local laws, such as the Copyright Act, the Registered Designs Act, and the Patents Act. To get a patent or trademark, one must apply by writing to the Finnish Patent and Registration Office (PRH) in Finnish and Swedish. Patent registrations and trademarks are generally granted based on a first-to-file or first-to-invent basis. U.S. companies should therefore consider how best to obtain patent and trademark protection before introducing products or services to the Finnish market.
The Finnish legal system protects intellectual property rights and Finland adheres to numerous international agreements concerning intellectual property. Finland has joined the most important copyright agreements.
For information about patent, trademark, or copyright issues, including enforcement issues in the US and other countries, call the STOP! Hotline: 1-866-999-HALT or visit STOPFakes.gov or contact the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). You can find information on how to evaluate, protect, and enforce intellectual property rights, how these rights may be important for businesses and find market-specific IP Toolkits. The toolkits contain detailed information on protecting and enforcing IP in specific markets and contain contact information for local IPR offices abroad and U.S. government officials available to assist SMEs.
It is always advisable to conduct due diligence with potential partners. A good partner is an important ally in protecting IP rights. Consider carefully, however, whether to permit your partner to register your IP rights on your behalf. Doing so may create a risk that your partner will list itself as the IP owner and fail to transfer the rights should the partnership end. Keep an eye on your cost structure and reduce the margins (and the incentive) of would-be bad actors. Work with legal counsel familiar with Finnish laws to create a solid contract that includes non-compete clauses, and confidentiality/non-disclosure provisions.
Firms should understand the importance of working together with trade associations and organizations to support efforts to protect IP and prevent counterfeiting. Organizations that provide assistance include:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce
National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)
International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA)
International Trademark Association (INTA)
The Anti-Counterfeiting Group
International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC)
Additionally, companies should monitor competitors’ registered IP to know which protection rights have been applied to new products. A database of industrial property rights can be found through the Finnish Patent and Registration Office.
In any foreign market companies should consider several general principles for effective management of their intellectual property.
The U.S. Department of Commerce has positioned IP attachés in key markets, including in Europe. The contact in Europe is:
IP Attaché - European Union Rachel Bae
U.S. Mission to the European Union
Boulevard du Régent 27
BE-1000 Brussels, Belgium
Office Phone: +32 2-811-5308, e-mail: email@example.com
U.S. companies may wish to seek advice from local attorneys or IP consultants who are experts in Finnish law. The U.S. Commercial Service can provide a list of local lawyers upon request. More information regarding intellectual property rights can be found in the Investment Climate Statement.