Lesson 4: Transnational Intellectual Property

Are Intellectual Property Laws the Same Around the World?

All IP laws are territorially defined and national in scope therefore do not assume that the laws in one country are identical to the laws in another. In some jurisdictions, the various forms of IP laws are all codified by statute. In others, some are codified and some are determined solely by decisions of the courts (such as in the US and British Commonwealth jurisdictions).

Our focus in this course will be primarily on the IP laws of ‘common law’ countries – namely, those countries that follow the British legal tradition  - such as Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, among others.

The other main legal tradition, the civil law tradition that predominates in Continental Europe, Central and South America among other countries, recognizes the same or similar forms of IP but may not treat them precisely the same way.   

While legal traditions and legal systems differ from country to country, when it comes to IP,  the underlying policies and overarching legal frameworks are similar.

However, the devil is often in the details so be careful not to assume that the specifics of the IP laws and practices that you are familiar with necessarily operate the same way around the world.

Legal Systems of the World


Last modified: Monday, 18 September 2017, 3:33 PM