Tools to pursue intellectual property protection in other countries
The United States is a party to several international treaties that are designed to help intellectual property (IP) right holders secure protection for their IP not only in their home countries, but in countries throughout the world. These include:
- The Paris Convention provides for a “right of priority” for patents. After an applicant files a first regular application for an invention in one Contracting State, the applicant may file subsequent applications for the invention in any other Contracting State within 12 months. These subsequent applications will be treated, subject to certain requirements, as if they had been filed on the same day as the first application.
- The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) provides a unified procedure for filing patent applications in each of its Contracting States. In addition to simplifying the formalities involved in filing multiple foreign applications, it gives an applicant more time than the Paris Convention to assess commercial viability before incurring the costs of pursuing protection in foreign markets.
- The Hague Agreement offers the possibility of obtaining protection for up to 100 industrial designs in designated member countries and intergovernmental organizations by filing a single international application in a single language.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has entered into a variety of arrangements with national and regional IP offices that facilitate the examination of applications for patents and, more generally, help applicants manage their applications in multiple jurisdictions. These include:
- The Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) provides for fast-track examination of related patent applications filed in partner offices.
- The Global Dossier (GD) allows applicants to monitor, on one webpage, the status of, and information related to, the examination of patent family member applications for the same invention that were filed in multiple IP offices.
- The Collaborative Search Pilot (CSP) provides applicants who cross-file their patent applications internationally with search results from multiple offices early in the examination process. This allows the applicant to determine their next steps in patent prosecution.
- Priority Document Exchange (PDX) allows applicants to avoid fees associated with ordering a certified priority document for each office of subsequent filing and the costs of transmitting those certified copies to foreign associates or foreign IP offices.
The below table shows some of the countries and regions that participate in these worksharing arrangements. Select the name of the IP office to go directly to the website of that office. In the future, this table will include links to more specific information about each country or region.
|Country or region||IP office||CSP||GD||PPH||PDX|
|Canada||Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO)|
|China||China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA)|
|Europe1||European Patent Office (EPO)|
|Japan||Japan Patent Office (JPO)|
|Mexico||Instituto Mexicano de la Propiedad Industrial (IMPI)|
|Republic of Korea||Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO)|
1The EPO is the regional office responsible for the grant of European patents. The EPO is an international organization that was established on the basis of the European Patent Convention. It is comprised of all EU Member States as well as several non-EU countries, including Switzerland, Norway, and Turkey, among others. See the EPO website for a list of EPO contracting parties. The EPO also has arrangements in place with several non-European countries that provide for the grant of a national patent in those countries on the basis of a European patent granted by the EPO. See the EPO website for more information on these arrangements.