Don't Lose Your Right to File for a Foreign Patent

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How do foreign patents work?

Don't Lose Your Right to File for a Foreign Patent

Obtaining a patent is often a complicated matter. Some actions taken by an inventor--such as disclosing his or her invention--can lead to an inadvertent forfeiture of patent protection. Publishing detailed information about the invention too soon can do the same. Similar rules apply to foreign patents. Even disclosing an invention in the US can lead to a loss of the right to file for a foreign patent. However, some treaty arrangements between the US and foreign countries can help inventors patent an idea elsewhere. In some cases, if an inventor files for a patent in the US on a certain date and for a foreign patent within one year, the original US date of filing will apply, even in the foreign country.

Also, if--after filing a US patent--an inventor may want to or be required to publish information about the invention. If that information discloses benefits of the invention without naming details of the invention, it could protect that inventor from losing foreign patent rights. However, never consider this type of publication without advanced counsel from a qualified patent attorney. The laws governing patent rights--and their foreign counterparts--are vast so it is best to leave this area of the law to the experts or it could cost you a significant loss of future income, especially considering the nature of the world economy.



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