Is There an International Patent?

There is no such thing as an international patent. Each patent application has to be filed nationally separately in every country where the patent owner wants to protect his invention. However, the majority of nations today are part of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) that provides a facilitated filing process for inventors who want to seek protection for their inventions in many countries in the future. It is worth noting that the granting of the patents still remains in control of the national or regional patent offices. This is due to the fact that there is no universal patent law, and each nation has different legal standards for granting patents as well as enforcing them.

 How to Protect a Patent Internationally?

The PCT application allows the inventor to begin the filing process in many countries at once by submitting one international patent application instead of many national patent applications. Among the advantages of filing the PCT application is that it has to be filed only in one language and the inventor has to pay just one set of fees. Moreover, it allows a single examiner to speak to the patentability of the product – something that can save the inventor significant costs. It also allows the inventor to delay the decision of which countries he wants to patent his product in for around 18 months. The PCT application has the same effect as a national patent application. It can also be filed electronically. Patenting a product through the PCT application has 2 separate phases to it. Phase I is the PCT application itself along with its “international publication”. Approximately 30 months after the initial filing of the PCT application, the inventor is allowed to move into Phase II of the process, which is working directly with the national patent offices.

Phases of an International Patent Application

Phase I of the PCT application begins with the initial filing of the application. The International Searching Authority (one of the world’s major patent Offices) issues a written opinion on the product to be patented. Then, after approximately 18 months the patent application is internationally published – an event, which discloses its existence to the world. After 30 months from the initial filing date, Phase II takes place. This National Phase involves the inventor working with the national and regional patent offices in the countries where the product is to be patented.

If the inventor chooses to file the patent application in the USA before filing it internationally, then the PCT application must be filed 12 months within the filing date in the United States.

What are the Fees?

The PCT application costs around $4,000. In Phase II of the PCT – the National Phase, fees can range from $2,000 to $7,000 depending on the country the inventor seeks to patent in. Additionally, patent maintenance fees also vary by country.

EPGD Business Law is located in beautiful Coral Gables, West Palm Beach and historic Washington D.C. Call us at (786) 837-6787, or contact us through the website to schedule a consultation.

*Disclaimer: this blog post is not intended to be legal advice. We highly recommend speaking to an attorney if you have any legal concerns. Contacting us through our website does not establish an attorney-client relationship.*

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Silvino Diaz

Silvino E. Diaz’s practice ranges from Civil and Commercial Litigation to Entertainment and Intellectual Property Law. Silvino has earned a reputation as one of Puerto Rico’s foremost advocates for independent musicians and artists. As a result of his sustained commitment to creative industries, he was named Professor of Intellectual Property Law at Atlantic University College (Guaynabo, PR) – the Caribbean’s leading digital arts institution – where he spearheaded the “Introduction to IP” course for both the graduate and undergraduate programs, and was appointed by the Office of the President to develop an Intellectual Property graduate curriculum, where he served until moving to Miami in 2017. He is the founder of the service known as Starving Artists, where he offers innovative business and legal counsel for artists and creatives.


*The following comments are not intended to be treated as legal advice. The answer to your question is limited to the basic facts presented. Additional details may heavily alter our assessment and change the answer provided. For a more thorough review of your question please contact our office for a consultation.

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