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In this growing global economy, you will have to decide early if your invention will require international patent protection. A US patent will not protect you in markets outside of the United States. A patent application must be filed in each country where protection is desired, and within the deadline set by each particular country as well.
While this may sound daunting, there are two treaties that many countries abide by that help make this process a bit simpler.
- The Paris Convention is adhered to by most industrialized nations and offers a grace period for filing patent applications in member countries.
- The Patent Cooperation Treaty allows an inventor to file an international patent application that buys the applicant the time to develop a full patent program. Most of the major countries of the world are PCT members.
Unfortunately, there is no universal or worldwide patent in existence. What these treaties do accomplish is to simplify the process, spread out the cost associated with applying for patents in many countries and provide more time to seek protection.