Since the rights granted by a U. S.
patentonly extend to the United States and have no effect in any foreign country, inventors who wish to obtain patent protection in other countries must apply for a patent in each of the other countries or at regional patent offices. Patent rights are geographically based, and each country or region has its own intellectual property office that will grant or deny patent rights within its own borders.
For example, a patent from China is not enforceable in the U. S., and similarly, a US patent is not enforceable in China. The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is an agreement between some 165 member States and groups of states that sets out basic rules for the filing of patent applications and greatly simplifies the international process of searching for patents and the preliminary examination of filed applications. By filing an international patent application under the PCT, applicants can simultaneously apply for protection for an invention in a large number of countries.
The main benefit of the PCT procedure is that you have 30 months to decide which countries you actually want to enjoy patent protection in. In addition, all countries require their patents to be translated into the national language of that country. Unlike the European patent granting procedure, the PCT procedure does not directly result in the granting of a patent. Therefore, there is no worldwide patent.
It would be impossible to pay for a patent to be granted in all the countries that are affiliated with the Patent Cooperation Treaty, and it wouldn't be worth it either.In addition to the PCT and EPO avenues for applying for a patent abroad, the third method for filing a patent application in a foreign country is to file it directly in individual countries of interest. The reason why direct domestic applications are more expensive is that each country conducts its own patent search and examination.In some cases, the license is not specifically granted or denied, in which case the license is not required as long as the applicant waits at least six months after the filing of the United States patent application to file a foreign patent application. Subsequently, an international search authority (ISA), such as the European Patent Office, will conduct an international search for new developments.If you need more information on how to apply for a patent in any particular country, please contact your U. patent attorney or contact the public information office.John Ferrell is a founding partner of Carr & Ferrell LLP, one of the most important technology law firms in Silicon Valley, and specializes in patent and intellectual property law matters.
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