Unfortunately, it’s not so simple as whether you should file for a foreign patent one country at a time. Under U.S. patent law, if your invention will be made here in the United States, you will need to get a license from the Director of the USPTO before you can apply for a patent in another country. You must have that license before your patent application expires (within six months of that, actually). However, if you’ve managed to keep the invention totally secret during the application period for the patent, you may not be required to have that license.
The good news is that as of April of 2014, you can file one patent application with the USPTO and thanks to the Patent Cooperation Treaty, you may be able to seek a patent in 148 other countries at the same time. The.
Above all, you need a plan. Your patent plan should depend on several key questions:
- What is your overall strategy to get the patents and to market the product?
- Where could you reasonably pursue legal remedies for infringement? Remember that it is your responsibility to protect your legal rights.
- What is your budget? Patents are not cheap and you’ll also have maintenance fees both in the U.S. and abroad.
- Is there a time pressure that you’re facing for specific countries?Develop a short-list of countries where you believe you should file the patent first.
- Are you able to complete your patent applications in such a way that you practically guarantee yourself that you get the patent in each of those countries?
I totally understand your desire to consider getting your patent extended to foreign countries. It is important, though, that you go about it in the right way. Patent applications here and abroad cost you more than money. They also cost you time. If your patent is denied, you have the right to appeal.
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