Protecting Your Invention Internationally: More Possible Than Ever Before

Originally posted 2018-07-12 5:32:32

ID-10043050By Jon Fiebelkorn |

In today’s global marketplace, it’s hard for an entrepreneur with a great idea to know whether their idea will be protected when the economy drives it from one country to the next. The amount of regulations involved and the language barriers can be daunting, and sometimes the paperwork can be very confusing. Fortunately, some measures exist that make it easier for modern inventors to market their products in many different countries. The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is a treaty designed to assist entrepreneurs in repeating the patent process in other countries where they might like to market their idea.

Because a standardized international application for patent protection in a global marketplace was called for by the changing economy, the PCT created one application procedure for 148 member states, and an application can be found in the local patent office in any of the member countries. However, even with a standardized application, there is no such thing as an “international patent” or one registration that guarantees protection everywhere. The searching and reviewing takes place anew each time a patent is nationalized: protection is provided only by the country that hosts the patent, and the existence of similar patents in each country could prevent registration and subject a businessperson to many headaches.

After filing a PCT application at the US Patent and Trade Office (USPTO), the international searching authority will make a written opinion about the invention’s patentability. There may be a preliminary examination by an international authority, after that the relevant national patent office takes care of the patent’s administration. For inventors and businessmen, this can mean a lengthy wait.

The PCT application establishes a filing date where the patent is recognized in treaty member countries, but the granted patent comes from the chosen country whose home patent office is involved. While it is easier to apply anywhere in the 148 member states, preliminary investigations into the patentability of an invention can save money and a lot of time.

In the USA, the PCT application must be filed within twelve months of the filing date with the USPTO, and once the PCT application is submitted there will be between 18 and 30 months to file a patent in individual countries. “Nationalizing” your patent in the country where it will be used means some complexity of paperwork and deadlines, so hiring a specialized patent attorney who is experienced with PCT patents is strongly recommended. For more information on the requirements for a PCT patent application, consult and speak to a qualified and experienced attorney.