Patents offer you safeguards for your intellectual property, but U.S. filings may only protect 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 can be a necessary one for taking your product to the next step.

Production passports

Pursuing patents in other countries can vary depending on what your goals are, so make sure you know what applies to your process:

  • Mounting costs: You’ll want to think about the markets in which you’re going to file for protection. Since there is no one-size-fits-all solution, you’ll be facing greater costs with every name you add to the list. Even while pacts and regional offices can streamline the process, you’re likely still starting in the thousands and growing 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 even where your competitors might take your ideas could impact how you decide your course.
  • 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 windows depending on where you submit your applications, with standards stemming from different things like your priority date in the U.S., localized guidelines or application dates in associated countries.

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.