Domestic and Foreign Rights
United States Patent provides the inventor with the right to exclude others from making, using or selling the patented product within the United States and its territories.
A United States patent is not automatically recognized and protected in a foreign country or vice versa. Consequently, for the United States businessman - exporter seeking patents abroad, foreign applications must be filed.
A United States inventor interested in patents must be aware of a number of time bars, which could remove the chance for any patent protection whatsoever, either United States or foreign.
Under the present United States patent laws, an inventor loses his right to a United States patent if:
Under the existing international treaties
with other participating member countries, a United States inventor can claim
the priority of the filing date of his patent application in the
foreign "member" countries
as the date his aplication was filed in the United States Patent Office. The
foreign applications should be filed within twelve months of the U.S. filing
date in order to take advantage of priority benefits afforded by the international
- The invention was either "in public use" or "on sale" more than one year prior to the date of the application for patent in the United States.
- The invention was patented or described in a printed publication in this or foreign country before the invention thereof by the applicant for a patent.
- The invention was known or used by others in this country or patented or described in a printed publication in this or foreign country before the invention thereof by the applicant for a patent.
- The invention was first patented, caused to be patented or was the subject of an inventor's certificate by the applicant in a foreign country prior to the date of the application for patent in the United States on an application filed more than twelve months before the filing of the application in the United States.
Logistically, the United States patent application will serve as the patent application in foreign countries with appropriate translation being made where necessary. United States patent drawings also can be modified to meet the needs of the particular country to which application is being made.
While a U.S. patent has a term of twenty (20) years from the filing date, foreign patent terms vary depending on the country. Often a yearly payment or annuity is required to keep the foreign patent in force.