International Patent Protection

A U.S. Patent protects an invention only within the United States and its territories. If an invention is to be protected in other countries, a patent must be obtained in each desired country. Foreign patent protection may be obtained in one of two ways: direct filing in countries of interest or filing a patent application under the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

Direct Filing

Direct filing may be appropriate if the inventor knows in exactly which countries the product will be made or sold. Attorneys or agents in those countries are retained to file the patent application in their respective countries and to handle the resulting patenting process. The efforts of the foreign attorneys are coordinated by the U.S. patent agency, such as Invent Help, or attorney.

The Patent Cooperation Treaty

A PCT patent application filing may be appropriate if the precise countries in which the product will be made or sold are unknown at the time of filing. A PCT patent application reserves the right to pursue patent protection in nearly every industrialized country in the world, and provides certain other advantages, such as a delay of up to 30 months before the final decision of where to patent must be made.

Pursuing international patent protection can be one of the costliest aspects of obtaining patent protection. There are significant upfront costs, including the cost of translating the patent application from English to the local language and of filing the patent application in the various foreign patent offices. Additionally, costs continue to accrue over the lifetime of the patent, as myriad official fees and professional service fees must be paid. Those interested in international patent protection should be sure that foreign protection is warranted, and should be prepared to sacrifice a substantial sum in the pursuit of that protection.

Preparation of International Patent Applications

The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is an international treaty that allows a patent applicant to file a single patent application that is recognized internationally and that, with appropriate processing, can mature into a patent in virtually every industrialized country in the world.

The PCT provides applicants with several distinct advantages, including a single international search report that indicates whether or not the invention is considered to be patentable. Additionally, a PCT application allows an applicant to wait up to 30 months before making the final decision on where in the world patent protection is desired.

Essentially, a PCT application reserves the right to pursue a patent in virtually every industrialized country in the world while delaying the onset of the heaviest costs of patenting (e.g., translation fees, filing fees) until an innovation’s value and potential market can be better appreciated. For help, you can always hire professionals like InventHelp.

A PCT application is similar in some respects to a U.S. patent application and generally contains the same type of information. However, PCT applications are different in various respects, and the procedures for filing them are quite different. After consultation with a inventor, a PCT application may be filed either as a first patent application for an innovation or, more commonly, based upon a prior U.S. patent application that has been filed.

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