International Patent Applications

Filing patent applications internationally has taken on increasing importance as global economies move the manufacture of goods across national boundaries.  Because the sharing of goods and ideas transcends national boundaries, it is vital that patent protection be available internationally to accompany the ideas they secure.  A  mechanism to enable patent applications to be filed in a wide range of countries is the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a specialized agency of the United Nations.

A PCT application is an "international" patent application that has the effect of filing a patent application simultaneously in each of over 130 countries and regions including the European Patent Office , the African Regional Industrial Property Organization, the African Intellectual Property Organization, or the Eurasian Patent Office.  The international application is subjected to an international search that results in an international search report, listing published documents that might affect the patentability of the invention, as well as a written opinion on patentability.  A PCT application has significant advantages in that it provides 30 months (31 in some countries) from the earliest national filing date to determine which countries or regions should be pursued by national or regional applications while maintaining the filing date of the original patent application.

A PCT distance learning course that provides an introduction and general overview of the Patent Cooperation Treaty is available here.

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International Patent Litigation

Obtaining patents in international forums is the first prong in protecting a global market.  Preventing infringement of your patents is the second prong.  This issue of the California Business Law Practitioner illustrates the different, often disparate, nature of the ability to enforce patent rights in different nations.  It includes papers written by litigation practitioners in countries with different philosophies and different procedures, represented by the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Australia, and Japan, providing a sense of the various forms of patent litigation that a company with a significant international patent portfolio could face.  It is published as part of an educational program for practicing lawyers by the Regents of the University of California by agreement with the Board of Governors of the State Bar of California.  To receive a PDF copy, just click "PDF Copy" below, type "pdf" in the subject line and send the email.  A copy will be sent to the return address.  No comment is necessary.

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