What if I want to file in a country outside the U.S.?
Magellan Global LLC can manage that for you. The U.S. has entered into treaties with almost every industrialized country, which allow U.S. applicants to file patent applications with the party nations within 12 months of the earliest U.S. filing date and get the benefit of the U.S. filing date. In addition, the U.S. is a party to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), which allows applicants to file a single international application within 12 months of the earliest U.S. filing date and also get the benefit from an U.S. filing date. The applicant, however, will have to file the international or PCT application nationally in select countries within 30 or 31 months from the earliest filing date. Although PCT applications are examined and applicants are able to amend the application before entering the national stage, PCT applications do not grant. Rather, each national patent application must be prosecuted individually. The European Patent Convention (EPC) similarly allows applicants to file a single patent application within 12 months or 31 months when entering with the PCT application of the earliest filing date. Unlike the PCT application, however, the European patent application is prosecuted at the European level and later registered in the elected countries after the grant. The most important thing to remember about foreign filing is that missing a filing deadline likely results in a loss of foreign patent rights.
The costs associated with foreign patents vary. Applicants will likely pay at least the same amount, or more, to prosecute applications in each country or region, as in the United States. The cost for filing foreign patent applications consists mostly of patent office fees. Bigger savings can be realized in prosecution by using strategies similar to those for the U.S. Of course the most prudent strategy is to limit foreign filing to only those countries where it makes good business sense to do so.