As a smart business owner, you’ve sought patent protection for all your products and processes, along with your trademarks and other intellectual property. However, you may not be aware that the rights granted by a U.S. patent extend only throughout the United States—they have absolutely no effect in a foreign country.
Any inventor who wants patent protection in other countries is required to apply for a patent in each of the other countries or in regional patent offices.
Nearly every country has its own patent laws and requirements, and a business owner who wants patent protection in a particular country must make an application for patent in that country.
Likewise, those countries have their own laws for trademarks, copyrights, and other forms of intellectual property.
While this sounds like a daunting task, there are some shortcuts to international IP protection.
The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) can streamline the process of filing patents in multiple countries. Filing one “international” patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) lets a U.S. applicant concurrently seek protection in up to 143 countries. Likewise, the Madrid Protocol simplifies the application process for trademark registration in multiple countries. An inventor or business owner can file one trademark registration application with USPTO and concurrently seek protection in up to 88 countries.
Because of international copyright treaties and conventions, many countries don’t require registration of a U.S. copyright for copyright protection. Nonetheless, registration can have its benefits, like proof of ownership. The United States has copyright relations with many countries, and we enjoy reciprocal recognition of each other’s citizens’ copyrights.
Prior to speaking with an experienced intellectual property legal professional, think about these questions:
If you’re unable to answer any of these questions, bring them up with your IP attorney to discuss.
Many business owners may have trouble protecting their intellectual property rights in other countries, primarily because they don’t know how to obtain and enforce rights in specific foreign markets. While it’s not as simple as A-B-C, an experienced IP attorney can advise you on securing these protections. Here are some of the basic steps that companies should consider:
If you plan on selling, distributing, manufacturing, or sourcing your company’s products abroad, you should register your IP with each country’s intellectual property authority. This will ensure that your business’ intellectual property rights are protected internationally. Discuss your IP issues with an experienced intellectual property legal professional.
Attorney Michael Ahmadshahi focuses on patents, intellectual property, copyright, and trade secrets in Irvine, California. The Michael Ahmadshahi, PhD, Law Offices are also located in Beverly Hills and Sherman Oaks. Call us toll free at (800) 747-6081 or direct at (949) 556-8800 or email email@example.com and let us help you with your international IP questions and the strategy for your company.
Michael was very helpful over the phone. He took the time to listen to my product and offered as much guidance as possible. I would definitely recommend Michael to anyone who is just starting and looking for some guidance”
Michael is an amazing lawyer. He completed my business’s Provisional Patent and Term and Conditions. Both the PP and T&C were professional and done in a timely manner. Michael has a personable personality ”
I have known Michael Ahmadshahi Since 2003 and he has done a couple of patents for me and other times I have retained him for just legal advice. He is simply the best at what he does. He is knowledgeable ”