Due to the growing interdependence of the world’s economy and population, your market is not limited to the countries in which your company is based. Indeed you may have a global impact.
Therefore, how do you protect your inventions internationally?
There is no such thing as an international patent, as a patent is restricted to a specific territory and no single patent confers protection for your invention at a worldwide level.
Indeed, patent law is proper for each country and although regional agreements exist, there is no common worldwide patent law.
However, an international patent application does exist. An international patent application, filed according to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) aims at facilitating procedures for protecting your invention in multiple countries, in a cost-effective and insightful way.
In short, filing ONE international patent application under the PCT system allows you to seek protection in ALL member states of the PCT – currently 153 countries!
At the end of the so-called international phase (generally 30 to 31 months after the filling of the first patent application), this international patent application is converted into a bundle of national/regional patent applications of your choice, which are then examined by national/regional patent offices.
The PCT system offers you to postpone the selection of the countries in which you wish to protect your invention to the end of the international phase. Whilst it is advisable to seek protection at the early stage of your invention’s development, you may still be undecided at this time on its value at a global scale. This time allows you to develop your international business strategy worldwide and to evaluate your market targets.
Finally, the PCT system allows you to gather valuable information on the patentability of your invention, without incurring substantial national/regional filing fees.
GEVERS and its highly specialized patent attorneys would gladly help you in assessing the best strategy to protect your invention at an international level. Please do not hesitate to contact us!
Antoine Herbaut – Patent Engineer
Ingrid Luyten – European Patent Attorney