Filing Patents around the world

by Jun 8, 2021For Startups, Patent

Through various treaties, agreements, and mutual understanding between countries, it is possible to file patent applications around the world for your inventions. Even if you are a citizen of India, you can get a patent granted in the USA. In this section, we highlight some of the routes through which you can get patents in other countries.

No. You cannot get a Global patent

Patent protection is a territorial form of intellectual property. Rights granted by a patent depend on the laws of the country. Since patent laws are country-specific, there is nothing called a global patent. A patent filed at the Indian Patent Office only will give rights to the inventor in India only. Thus you must apply in each country where you wish to enforce the patent.

Although there are many regional treaties for filing in many countries, it is workable to file for the Paris Convention or a PCT application. You must then name all the countries where you wish to get a patent on your invention.

Before filing patents in other countries

The following questions will help you decide before filing a patent application in other countries:

  • Which country will be suitable for manufacturing the product? You must analyze the logistics, market value, labor and investment capital, etc., in the country.
  • Where are your competitors based? What is the best pricing, and what is the market size in that country?
  • Is it worth patenting in a country where the legal system is not strong enough?
  • Are there other benefits like funding for startups? Or legal stipulations to have a patent in that country?

Patent filing in other countries can be a costly affair. It is prudent to think through the benefits before venturing out to file a patent application.

Patent Cooperation Treaty – Single window to file patent applications in other countries

As a start-up, if you plan to expand and launch your product in many countries, it is a good idea to file patent applications through Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). PCT is an international patent application governed by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). PCT makes it easy and initially cheap to file a single patent application designating many countries. You can do this by filing an “international patent application”, also called a PCT application.  

You can file a PCT application in India by naming India as a designated authority. You must also file a national phase application in India. Through the national phase application, you can enter your patent application to over 100 member countries within 30 or 31 months from the date of the first filing of the application.

Note: PCT is a patent application. It does not give you any rights. Each countries’ patent office takes over the grant process of a PCT application after it enters a country. The fees for each country has to be paid separately, and a patent attorney will have to be hired to communicate with the individual countries’ patent office.

This article is part of the series IPR Toolkit for Startups in India. The series covers various types of Intellectual Property Rights that startups can get in India. Access all the articles in the series

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