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Should I file for an international patent?

Patents are a valuable tool for ensuring that you have the exclusive right to manufacture, use, or sell a particular product or service. A patent also grants you the right to royalty payments from anyone who infringes on your patent. Unfortunately, the reach of a patent is somewhat limited.

Patents are specific to the countries in which they are issued. A U.S. patent alone isn’t going to mean much in a foreign jurisdiction. This raises the question of whether you should file for an international patent.

A cost-benefit analysis is essential

It can take a lot of resources to file for patent protections in multiple countries. However, if you believe that either you or a competitor will make use of the technology in another country, you should strongly consider filing for a patent in that country. That said, just because you may be able to obtain a foreign patent doesn’t mean that this is the best decision from a business perspective.

How do I decide where to file?

If it makes sense to file for an international patent, you must decide where to do so. A scattershot approach will be cost-prohibitive. Two main points to consider are:

  • Whether your competitors have a patent filed in the foreign jurisdiction
  • The foreign marketplaces are you likely to enter

Discussing your options with a skilled professional is a good way of attaining clarity in where to file for a foreign patent.

A domestic patent still provides a good degree of protection

Even large companies often limit their foreign patents to a handful of jurisdictions. A U.S. patent will still provide you with a strong degree of protection for your device or service.

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