A patent is only applicable in the jurisdiction in which it is filed. Therefore, a patent filed in the UK will be dealt with in the UK market only, and a patent filed in the US will mean the product is protected in the US only. If you want to protect an invention more widely you can either file your patent application in every country where you want protection, or you can file a Patent Cooperation Treaty. This allows you to enforce this Patent Cooperation Treaty in the different countries after it has been finalised.
How to Choose Between the Two Options
There are various factors that affect whether you choose the first or the second option for filing your patent in multiple countries. These include where you are with your funding, how mature the technology behind your invention is, the speed with which you need to protect your invention in different countries, and whether you fully understand which jurisdictions you need to target. If you are particularly concerned about getting your invention into the market quickly then filing patent applications in each different country is the best idea. Speed can be further enhanced through the use of patent application software that will streamline the process. But if you are still spending considerable amounts of money on developing the invention then you should consider deferring your costs and filing a Patent Cooperation Treaty.
More About the Patent Cooperation Treaty
The PCT is an application that acts as a placeholder and sets up a filing date for the invention, and this can then be nationalised in over 140 countries that are part of the PCT. You do not have to nationalise the patent immediately in applying, you typically have up to 30 months or more from the filing date.
Benefits of a Patent Cooperation Treaty include being able to defer the time and costs spent on making patent applications. You have up to 30 months to put together financing and hone your claims, and you will have more time to find the funding you need for the applications. Search is also included in the Treaty, and when the PCT is published you effectively get free advertising that can be used to create prior art, which discourages competitors.
Whatever route you take, it is important to consult a patent attorney who is skilled in working with multiple jurisdictions. This field is a complex one, and expert assistance is often required to make sure your strategies and processes are sound.
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