Patent holders in the United States might not have patent protection elsewhere in the world. Other individuals or businesses can use copyrighted works or patented inventions abroad. To protect patents abroad, it is essential to have an experienced legal professional review patents and copyrights to determine their application outside of the U.S.
According to the United States Copyright office, a copyright protects the creator’s original works and authorship, including written novels, plays, creative projects, computer programs, and others. Since U.S. copyrights do not protect actual ideas, it is possible for another creative individual to express similar ideas to those copyrighted. Foreign patent protection is an important step for the author, creator, or code writer to take.
Since the U.S. Copyright Office (Copyright Circular 38a) has established relations with other countries, an acknowledgement or possible protection of the creator’s U.S. copyright might be possible. However, most countries do not maintain copyright relationships and no protection of the creator’s work can be expected in these countries.
Some businesses use trademarks as part of their brand identity. Identifying marks, including ™, SM, and other symbols next to the business name or logo reflects the trademark/service mark of the business.
The U.S. business should first file a U.S. trademark on the path to protecting an international trademark. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) registers international trademarks but it is important to register the trademark in the home country first. U.S. Customs also registers trademarks in the U.S. in order to prevent trademark infringement importation.
A patent is necessary to protect an inventor’s product or discovery. A patent discourages others from using, recreating, and profiting from another’s work. A U.S. patent does not provide complete international protection of the inventor’s intellectual properties and USPTO patents are only protective within the United States.
Since all-inclusive international patents do not exist in today’s world, no one patent protects the inventor’s product or discovery. The inventory must research and file a patent in countries in which the product or discovery will be used and in which the owner requires protection.
WIPO’s Patent Cooperation Treaty, also known as PCT, may simplify the process of filing multiple international patents. Since requirements and patent fees vary according to the country, it is important to consult with an experienced patent attorney about various countries’ intellectual property laws.
Engaging an experienced patent attorney can protect the creator’s rights in the U.S. and abroad. Knowing about the types of protection available to the inventor, creator, or code writer can protect intellectual property rights and income.
International production, marketing, sales, and distribution of a patented discovery, process, or product requires careful evaluation. The owner of the patent must consider legal factors in addition to the appetite for the product or discovery. Market location, resources, goals, competition, and taxation must be considered in addition to trade secrets presence/absence in the foreign patent application as well as the levels of patent protection in prospective international markets.