because you don’t see any prohibition
against the conduct. Cultural sensitivi-ties and legal education and knowledge
are critical to ensure that you are not
breaking the law. Many governments
are increasingly turning their attention to the regulation of charitable
activities, as is further detailed in the
NonProfit Quarterly, which can be
found here: https://nonprofitquarterly.
Will your intellectual property
rights be protected?
When you send your staff into another
country, you may assume that you own
what they create because of how intel-
lectual property rights ownership tends
to be structured between employees
and employers. However, without hav-
ing a clear writing that complies with
local law, US IP structures may not
apply in the host country. You should
also be mindful of IP laws for volun-
teers and independent contractors that
you use or hire in host countries.
Separate from creation of IP, many
countries have significant counterfeiting operations, even if they are
signatories to the Madrid Protocol.
Once you bring a brand into a
new country, you should consider
registering your trademark to at
least have an option to protect your
brand if it is used or counterfeited
in another country. You should also
consider whether your intellectual
property is infringing on exisiting IP
in another country.
Can you operate using your
US entity and US staff?
Once you know that you can operate
within a country, you will need to determine whether you can operate from
your US entity located in the United
States, whether you will need a representative office, or whether you should set
up a local entity. These decisions often
tie to revenue-generating activities, but
they could also be impacted by the risk
profile of the activities in which your
organization engages. Whether you send
staff, hire a contractor, or use volunteers
will also be a determining factor, and
could also impact whether they are considered your agent. It is important that
you ensure that you consider the labor
laws of a country to better understand
what the implications are of individuals
working on your behalf, and that you are
in compliance with those laws.
Will you have to share financial
information with a foreign
government that you may not
be required to share with the
US or state governments?
Foreign governments have very different expectations for companies that
operate within their borders. They
may require much more, or different,
information about your operations.
If you seek to begin operations in a
foreign country, you should expect to
have to provide information about your
financial structures, revenue streams,
and expenses. You should not assume
the type of information or level of detail
expected by a foreign government to
enable you to operate within its borders.
Will your idea translate readily to
other cultures or languages?
Some charity names or brands don’t
translate to have the same or similar
meaning in other languages, or have
no translatable meaning in other
cultures. They could also be confused
Once you know that you
can operate within a
country, you will need to
determine whether you
can operate from your US
entity located in the United
States, whether you will
need a representative
office, or whether you
should set up a local entity.
56 ASSOCIATION OF CORPORATE COUNSEL
Other great resources
INTERNATIONAL NONPROFIT EXPANSION
These resources will help answer other questions you may have about
expanding your nonprofit to other regions.
■ ■ “Protecting Employee IP in a Global Environment”
■ ■ “Top Ten Risks Facing Nonprofits Operating Internationally”
■ ■ “Overseas Operations: What Every Nonprofit Should Know Before Crossing
■ ■ “Nonprofits – International Charity Activities”
■ ■ “Regulation of Nonprofit and Philanthropic Organizations: An