How Do I Protect My Idea Outside Florida and the United States?
If you are an inventor interested in protecting your idea outside the United States or mitigating foreign imports from China that impact your market share & profit margins, then my number 1 suggestion is to ask yourself this question:
How ambitious are your commercial expansion goals outside the United States?
Once you pose this question, it helps formulate a strategy for foreign filings, since you could choose to target ONE country or multiple nations in the initial application. This of course causes some anxiety for inventors since it can be an overwhelming thought.
However, there is a simple way to approach this dilemma: I suggest filing the initial patent in the United States since this automatically protects you from foreign imports, including those from China. The inventor then has a full 12 months to consider additional countries that he may wish to file patent protection for his idea or product.
Your patent attorney can help you with this selection process and also explain the benefits of the “highway patent system” for getting sister and brother patents fast-tracked abroad using the American filing as a launch pad.
Officially known as the Patent Prosecution Highway, it speeds up the examination process for corresponding applications filed in foreign participating IP offices. Some of the participating countries are listed below.
I go into more detail with regards these strategies in two recent TED Talks which Inventor’s Digest recently ranked in their TOP 10 talks on this popular platform for sharing ideas. You can also visit my Facebook page to see a video on Foreign Patent Filings.
I also remind inventors that the core value of most businesses and startups up today is not the land, equipment, manufacturing facilities or other physical property. In fact, the most valuable assets are knowledge-based intangibles such as Intellectual Property, Ideas and Patents.
I wrote briefly about this in a recent article on The Patent Professor website entitled Patents and Inventions in the Trump Era and again in this article American Inventors, Take a Bow: The Stats Show You Deserve It, which confirm that 81 American industries designated as IP-intensive directly account for nearly 28 million jobs and indirectly support an additional 18 million jobs.
In fact, to put this in perspective it’s estimated that 80% of the market value of all publicly-traded companies is dominated by Patents and IP, an astounding statistic! You can read more about this in the article entitled Thoughts on A.I. and Blockchain Patents in the Knowledge Economy.
As such, understanding the risks and rewards of foreign patent filings under International Patent Law will be a key ingredient in building a million-dollar brand – something we all dream off. With increasing concern about copycats in China and the threat of cheaper imports, inventors need to act decisively to protect and profit from their idea and I can certainly help in this endeavor!