This article unveils:
- Whether you can protect your product or idea in other countries.
- The general overview of how to protect your product or idea in other countries.
- What the Patent Cooperation Treaty is and how it plays a role in your affairs.
Is It Possible To Protect My Invention Or Ideas In Other Countries?
It is possible to protect your invention in countries other than your own.
In the United States, you have one year from the initial date of filing. Within this year, you have to file in every single other country that you want to file. Alternatively, you would have to file a PCT application. PCT stands for “Patent Cooperation Treaty.”
If you file a PCT application within the year, your deadlines are extended, but you eventually still have to file in each country you want to. Currently, if you file a PCT application, you get 31 months to file in European countries, 30 months in Japan, and 30 months in India and China. Beware: while the PCT application extends your deadline in many different countries, it does not in all – although rare, there are a few countries that the PCT does not cover.
Many file in Japan and Europe because of their lucrative markets and robust court systems that enforce patents. In recent years, it has made more and more sense to file in mainland China since it is very much a factory to the world. If you do not, another company may very well just start making the product independently in China. Recent studies indicate that enforcement in China is pretty good, with a higher likelihood of succeeding and enforcing your patent than a native person in China.
If I Have Filed A PCT Application, Is My Patent Guaranteed?
Submitting a PCT application does not guarantee a patent in your utility patent law case.
All the PCT application does is essentially just buy you time. You would still need to file the national version in each country in which you are interested in getting a patent.