HOW TO FILE AN INTERNATIONAL PATENT APPLICATION


INTRODUCTION:

Patents are territorially limited in nature i.e., if a Patent is granted or registered in India then the inventor’s rights would be protected within the boundaries of India and not beyond. This limitation can be counter-productive for the inventor, start-up or company who would be eager to maximize their profits and recoup the sunk costs spent in research and development of the products.


WAYS OF FILING THE INTERNATIONAL PATENT APPLICATION:

Generally, there are three ways or routes through which an inventor can protect his/her invention globally. Once the invention is protected in a foreign land, a revenue stream can be generated there by importing the product or licensing it to others. The three ways are as follows:


  1. Direct Application: The most logical and simple way is to directly approach the Patent Office(s) in different countries and simultaneously file an application there. However, the process can be quite expensive and cumbersome as the inventor would have to simultaneously keep track of all the applications. It is best suited when the number of countries one is applying to is limited and market is well-defined for the product.



  2. Convention Application: When an inventor files an application in a country which is part of the Paris Convention (India has been a signatory to the treaty since 1988), he/she would be entitled to file separate Patent applications in other Paris Convention countries within a period of 12 months from the date on which the application was filed for the first time.
    This is quite similar to Direct application way, but the only incentive is that it allows 12 months’ time to assess and decide the countries in which one wishes to apply.



  3. PCT Application: Perhaps the most convenient way to get protection for a Patent worldwide is to file a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application (India has been a signatory to the treaty since 1998). The application may be filed directly or within a period of 12 months from the filing date of the first application. The biggest advantage is that an inventor is allowed upto 30 to 31 months from the first filing date to decide in which country or countries he/she actually wishes to file and protect the invention.
    However, PCT requires higher fees upfront in comparison to others. Furthermore, the applicant should be careful and must check if the nations they want to protect the invention are signatories or not. For instance, Pakistan and Taiwan are not PCT compliant. If one wishes to file there, he must take either of the two other routes.




CONCLUSION:

From the above discussion, it is clear that there are three ways by which one can file an international Patent application. Filing of international Patent application should be based on the strategy one has to expand his/her right or want to take protection in other countries. It mainly depends upon the business strategies. If one wants to expand his/her business internationally. He/she must file the Patent in those countries for getting protection and should decide the proper ways of filing the Patent application which is efficient and cost- effective.


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