The patent process usually starts in your home country. Effectively applying that patent outside the country requires assistance from an international patent lawyer. Lewis & Rost maintain productive relationships with international associates in order to obtain your desired international patents.
When deciding on the countries in which to seek intentional patents, it's important to consider a variety of strategies. Call Lewis & Rost today at 720-528-8863 or 970-482-2841 to learn more about receiving an international patent and to discuss your most effective plan of action with our experienced patent lawyers.
The issue of novelty is a tricky problem in international patenting. Almost every country demands that the invention be absolutely novel at the time you file your application. That could prevent you from any promotional activity until every international application is on file — a risky and expensive proposition!
Fortunately, there is a solution. Most countries adhere to the Paris Convention. The members grant to each other a privilege. For 12 months from the patent application filing date in a home country, any other member country will grant to you the priority of the home country filing date. Thus, once your home application is filed, you can safely promote your invention for almost a year before filing the international applications.
Before your 12 months are up, you can file your application in any of the Paris Convention member countries. Each country will examine the application according to its own laws. Often the results in the various countries are mirror images. This is helpful because you can make similar arguments to each patent office. However, this repetition can be needlessly expensive. Many national patent offices are on the Web. Visit a few from this link page (link to EPC index).
A better solution to international patenting is to file an application under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (link to WIPO site). Over ninety countries are treaty members, and you can select any number. However, your application is centrally handled, searched, published and examined by a single patent office. At the end of treaty processing, a report issues, commenting on the adequacy of your patent claims versus the treaty standards, which are similar to international patentability standards. The report goes to every member country you selected. Now when you file national patents in the selected treaty countries, national processing is quicker, more uniform and less costly. In addition, the treaty extends the time before you must file national applications from 12 months to 30 months from home country filing date. This gift of time delays your major international costs and gives you time to refine and promote the invention.
Several conventions allow you to apply centrally for patents in a regional group of countries. One of the most important is the European Patent Convention (EPC) (Link to EPO page). If Europe is your only international target, you may wish to forgo the PCT in favor of the EPC. If Europe and several other countries are your target, then select the PCT, and follow it with the EPC at the conclusion of the PCT.