Principle of Territoriality in Intellectual Property Law (Gr.: Αρχή της εδαφικότητας, Ger.: Territorialitätsprinzip, It.: Principio di territorialità, Swed.: Territorialitetsprincip, Port.: Princípio da territorialidade, Pol.: Zasada terytorialności) [See also: national treatment, doctrine of exhaustion, digital single market] = Intellectual Property rights are not universal, but are limited in their effect to the territory of the sovereign under the laws of which they have been granted. As such all Intellectual Property rights are of national character, unless their scope extends to encompass a whole region, having been granted in such form. Since territorially limited rights are independent from one another, they can be owned by different persons.

The Principle of Territoriality in IPL is not to be confused with the Territoriality Principle of Public International Law.

Useful Links

Legislation - Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works of September 9, 1886, as amended on September 28, 1979 - Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property of March 20, 1883, as amended on September 28, 1979 - Patent Cooperation Treaty of June 19, 1970, as amended on Septembet 28, 1979, February 3, 1984, October 3, 2001 - Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, April 15, 1994, Annex 1C

Case Law - Case C-192/04 Lagardère Active Broadcast, CJEU 2005 I-07199 - C-462/09 Stichting de Thuiskopie, CJEU 2011 I-05331 - C-5/11 Donner, CJEU ECLI:EU:C:2012:370 - C-429/08 Murphy, CJEU European Court Reports 2011 I-09083Organisations and associations

Organisations and associations - World Intellectual Property Organisation - European Patent Office - European Union Intellectual Property Office

Online Publications - European Parliament Briefing, EU Copyright Reform: Revisiting the Principle of Territoriality, September 2015 [English] - Curtis A. Bradley, "Territorial Intellectual Property Rights in an Age of Globalism", Virgina Journal of International Law Vol. 37:505 [English] - Teruo Doi, 2002, "The Territoriality Principle of Patent Protection and Conlict of Laws: A Review of Japanese Court Decisions", Fordham International Law Journal Vol 26:2 [English]


Vasilis Antonopoulos, Rigas Giobannoloupos, Lampros Kotsiris, “Δίκαιο της Διανοητικής Ιδιοκτησίας“, [2015]. [Greek]

Danny Friedmann, "The uniqueness of the trade mark: a critical analysis of the specificity and territoriality principles", E.I.P.R. 2016, 38(11), 677-685 [English]

Annette Kur, Thomas Dreier, “European Intellectual Property Law”, [2013]. [English]

Ulrich Loewenheim, “The Principle of National Treatment in the International Conventions Protecting Intellectual Property”, in liber Amicorum, Joseph Straus, “Patents and Technological Progress in a Globalised World”, [2009], 593-599. [English]

Lydia Lundstedt, “Territoriality in Intellectual Property Law”, [2016]. [English]

Romana Matanovac Vuckovic, "Legislative Comment: Implementation of Directive 2014/26 on collective management and multi-territorial licensing of musical rights in regulating the tariff-setting systems in Central and Eastern Europe", IIC 2016, 47(1), 28-59 [English]

Alexander Peukert, “Territoriality and Extraterritoriality in Intellectual Property Law”, in Günther Handl, Joachim Zekoll & Peer Zumbansen (eds), “Beyond Territoriality: Transnational Legal Authority in an Age of Globalization”, [2012], 189-228. [English]


By Karolina Zamanakou