International Business Law Advisor Insights on International Litigation & Transactions

How Do I Register My Patent, Trademark or Copyright in a Foreign Country?

Posted in Intellectual Property

Earlier this week, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) received its two-millionth international patent application. The filing – from technology corporation Qualcomm – was made under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). The PCT is the WIPO-managed mechanism for filing patents in multiple countries with one set of documents.

The PCT is just one of several international intellectual property agreements that streamline the process for an applicant to register their intellectual property in multiple jurisdictions.  Below is a general overview for “internationalizing” your patent, trademark or copyright.

Patents

As mentioned above, the Patent Cooperation Treaty streamlines the process of filing patents in multiple countries.  By filing one “international” patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), U.S. applicants can concurrently seek protection in up to 127 countries.

For information about filing an international patent application under the PCT, visit the USPTO website: www.uspto.gov/go/pct/.

Trademarks

The Madrid Protocol streamlines the process for registering trademarks in multiple countries. It provides a cost-effective and efficient way for trademark holders — individuals and businesses — to protect their marks in multiple countries through the filing of one application with a single office, in one language, with one set of fees, in one currency.

By filing one trademark registration application with USPTO, U.S. applicants can concurrently seek protection in up to 66 countries.

For more information about filing an international trademark registration application under the Madrid Protocol, visit the USPTO website.

Copyrights

Although most countries do not require copyright registration in order to enjoy copyright protection, registration can offer several benefits, such as proof of ownership. The U.S. has copyright relations with most countries throughout the world, and as a result of these agreements, copyright protection is extended to the citizens of contracting states.

A word of caution, however, the United States does not have such copyright relationships with every country. A listing of countries and the nature of their copyright relations with the United States is available here.

Conclusion

For more information on how to apply for individual patents or trademarks in a foreign country, contact the intellectual property office in that country directly. A list of contact information for most intellectual property offices worldwide can be found at www.wipo.int/news/en/links/addresses/ip/index.htm.

-Santiago