A United States patent offers protection from patent infringement within the United States only. So, any international product you can think of has likely been patented in many countries. In most cases, international products are patented wherever they are sold. The patented products can be bought and sold by the patent holder within any of these countries while staying protected.
However, simply having a patent through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) does not guarantee protections in other countries. In short, you cannot use your US patent to protect against patent infringement in Germany. You must have a successful patent in any country that you seek protection of your patent.
The Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH)
The PPH is a cooperative program between the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and participating foreign patent offices.
Do you have a US Patent and is your second country part of the PPH? The second country may expedite and approve your patent on that merit alone. Also, if you already hold a patent in another country, the PPH may help expedite your US patent, as well. This occurs when one country’s patent office recognizes that the patent application already meets the patentability standard in another recognized country. Therefore, when you have a patent in one country, a participating country’s patent office can fast track your application in that country as well.
The USPTO provides a list of participating countries here.
Need More Information?
There is a great article on the LawTrades blog that will delve into what can and cannot be patented. I think you’ll find some additional useful information. You can find that article here.
If you’d like further assistance, LawTrades can help to match you with a skilled patent attorney to help with both your US and international patent needs.
Hope this helps!