IP in E-commerce
IP Concerns About International Transactions in
By World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)
the most remarkable characteristics of E-Commerce is that it occurs globally. IP
may be used and licensed in many countries simultaneously. The global
characteristic of E-Commerce businesses affects IP in a number of ways. It
makes it difficult to find the infringer and enforce IP rights that are violated
on the Internet. It is unclear what courts will have jurisdiction over disputes
relating to E-Commerce and IP. Also, laws affecting IP vary from country to
country so levels of protection may be different.
Lawsuits can be brought against your E-Commerce business or, conversely, your
business may seek redress in national courts, but various legal procedural
issues will affect such cases. If the parties are in different countries, it
will be difficult to determine which court can or should be used. The court may
or may not take jurisdiction (legal control) over the case, depending on many
factors, but especially the connection between the parties and the country. As a
practical matter, in order for a lawsuit to succeed, the defendant has to reside
in the country in which the lawsuit is brought. Another difficult issue is what
law to apply, especially if the laws of the countries of the parties involved
are different. Finally, even if the lawsuit succeeds, it could be difficult to
enforce a judgment in another country.
International arbitration is one way to deal with international E-Commerce
disputes, though generally participation is voluntary and cannot be forced.
Arbitration clauses may be agreed to in contracts, in which case the parties
are later required to use arbitration. You should consider specifying
international arbitration in any E-Commerce contracts involving international
transactions. WIPO’s Arbitration and Mediation Center specializes in
international dispute settlement and is well suited to solving international IP
problems arising in E-Commerce. Sample contractual arbitration clauses are
provided in its Web Site (see below).
WIPO Arbitration and
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