Patents offer you safeguards for your invention, but a U.S. patent only protects you from sea to shining sea, and not beyond. You do have options if you’re looking to cross international waters – if you can navigate the process.
The U.S. once again filed more international patents than any other country. An indicator of strong growth, the more than 230,000 recently reported filings are looking for a range of protections. Filing a patent internationally is often a complicated process, but in necessary for obtaining protection outside the U.S.
The costs and complexity of pursuing patents in other countries can vary greatly depending on what your goals are, so make sure you know what is relevant to your business:
- Mounting costs: You’ll want to carefully consider the markets in which you’re going to file for protection. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and you’ll be facing greater costs with every country you add to the list. Even while pacts and regional offices can streamline the process, costs per country start in the thousands and grow from there.
- Spreading out: Which countries you select can depend on many circumstances beyond where you want to sell things. Where you’re going to do manufacturing, whether you meet specific requirements of a region and where your competitors market or manufacturer their product all impact these patent decisions.
- Ticking clock: Once you decide where and how to file, you’ll need to tackle when to undergo the process. You may have to hit certain critical time windows depending on where you submit your applications, your priority date in the U.S., localized guidelines, and application dates in associated countries.
International business expansion can come with challenges, not the least of which is protecting yourself on a global level. Steering your business through the world of international trade can be a tall order, and your first step might be to shield your ideas beyond U.S. borders. Therefore, consulting with a patent attorney is highly recommended.