What Is The International Patent Filing Process For Foreign Applications?

There are several steps involved in the international patent filing process for foreign applications. Drafting, prosecuting, and acquiring intellectual property (IP) abroad can be quite a challenging feat. Thankfully, registered patent attorneys in Virginia have years of expertise navigating the end-to-end filing process. As a novel inventor yourself, partner with a USPTO lawyer to help you obtain protection across the globe. Read on to learn about the international patent filing process for foreign applications.

Understand The PCT Filing Timeline

To get started with international patent filing, you’ll need a basic understanding of the PCT filing timeline. The Patent Cooperation Treaty allows you to defer requests for foreign patents for up to 2 and a half years. To initiate the process, your patent attorney will need to gather all necessary documentation from the World Patent Office’s (WPO) website. Once everything is prepared, your application can be filed — then reviewed by a patent examiner. After this, you’ll receive a comprehensive report that emphasizes your probability of obtaining patent protection in different countries. Definitely, understand the PCT filing timeline before filing an international patent with a registered attorney.

Conduct An International Patent Search

The next step in the internal IP filing process is to conduct a worldwide patent search. Speak with your attorney about what international countries to conduct a search in. The PCT treaty applies to national offices in Australia, Canada, China, Korea, and Russia. At the same time, you can search regional offices like Europe’s EPO. This high-quality search reviews publicly available patent documents and other relevant technical journals or literature. All of your attorney’s findings will be published within your international search report — followed by a comprehensive opinion from your ISAs. Certainly, conduct an international IP search to get started with worldwide patent filing.  

Ask About International Filing Costs

After you’ve conducted an intellectual property search, ask about the international patent filing costs. For US-based inventors, international patent filing can cost around $2,000 to $5,000. Of course, costs may vary if you’ve already filed a provisional, design, or non-provisional application. Filing a PCT application for the first time typically has a higher cost to draft and prosecute. To keep costs affordable and predictable, hire a flat-fee online patent attorney. Surely, ask your international patent filing attorney about IP prosecution costs.

Enter The International Phase

Entering the international phase is a key step in the comprehensive international patent filing process. Once your application is submitted to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), you’ll receive provisional protection in all PCT contracting states. During this stage,  the WIPO conducts an advanced prior art search. The search report and published patent application are made publicly-available approximately 18 months after the priority date. Absolutely, the national phase is an unavoidable step in the worldwide patent drafting and filing process.

Begin The National Phase

Now, you are ready to begin the national patent filing phase. Obtain patent protection from your designated regional and national IP offices. Of course, you’ll need to pay the applicable fees and make necessary translations for each worldwide patent office. The intellectual property offices then examine your international application for patentability. To keep things straightforward, various PCT members have provided summarized requirements statements that you can review before national stage entry. Definitely, the national phase is one of the final steps in the global patent filing process.

There are several steps involved in international patent filing for foreign applications. Begin by understanding the PCT filing timeline and process. Next, conduct an international patent search to protect your invention globally. Then, ask about filing costs and filing fees. Afterward, you are ready to begin the international phase. Once you’ve done so, it is time to start the national phase. Follow the points above to learn about the international patent filing process for foreign applications.

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