Obtaining a patent for new technology is exciting. Often, this process can provide your business with an advantage over your competition. After all, if you’re the only who can use a material, a process or a new kind of computer processor, there will likely be a host of benefits. Some forms of new technology help speed up production, while others allow you to use less expensive materials. Other may reduce waste or energy use. Regardless of the function of the technology itself, a patent represents an opportunity for your business to profit and grow because of your research and development.
Unfortunately, anything novel, even if protected by patent law, is attractive to unscrupulous companies looking for short-term profits. Especially when considering manufacturers in other countries with less rigid intellectual property laws, there is potential for the theft or illegal use of your patented technology during the twenty years that your patent is active. Many times, working with an experienced foreign patent lawyer may be the best way to protect your rights to newly developed technology under patent laws. The experienced team at Livingston & Loeffler in Miami can help you.
What Do Patents Protect?
Patents are one of the most widely recognized forms of intellectual property protection. In essence, a patent gives its holder the sole right to use, sell, import or otherwise financially benefit from new technology. There are limits to what can be patented. First and most importantly, the technology must be new, meaning an existing patent doesn’t protect it. Secondly, it must be useful for some purpose, and finally, it must be non-obvious. Once a patent is granted domestically, you have the right to refuse others its use for manufacturing, including international manufacture and importation.
Patent laws are limited in their scope. They cannot prevent secondary market trading of products with patented materials or technology. Once you sell a product to a consumer, they have the right to sell it again to someone else, regardless of your patent. They do not have the right to duplicate your patented process or reverse engineer your technology through your product if they intend to manufacture it themselves or sell the process or information to others. If your patent rights are being violated by a business in another country, you need to work with a foreign patent attorney.
An attorney with an understanding of international patent law can help defend your protected intellectual property rights. If the other business is located in a country that is a member of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, you may be able to obtain protection for your patent under the Patent Cooperation Treaty of 1970. Even if your domestic patent has not yet been violated, there are a number of reasons why you may wish to file for an international Patent Cooperation Treaty patent. This process is complex and likely requires legal help.
Protecting Your Foreign Patent Rights
Domestic patent law is complicated. Foreign patent law is even more complex. Thankfully, with help from an attorney who has direct experience with foreign patent law, you may be able to navigate this complicated system. The team of experienced lawyers at Livingston & Loeffler can help with every step of the process, from filing an international application to requesting enforcement efforts domestically or internationally. Your filing can be in your native language, and an attorney you work with in your home country can perform it. The date of your application will be the patent date.
Unlike domestic patents, which check your new technology against existing domestic patents, foreign patent law involves much more research. The patents of all member states, which are often recorded in a variety of languages, must be examined to determine that no patents exist in any other country that would apply to your new material, process, technology or manufacturing component. Once your patent is granted, it will be published worldwide, allowing for other researchers to understand what your patent covered.
There are then 28 months in which third parties can file to claim your patent infringes on theirs or uses something protected by an existing patent. If your patent doesn’t infringe on any existing patents, you will then be able to request enforcement efforts if companies or individuals in any member states are violating your patent rights. One of the simplest ways to enforce foreign patent law is to stop importation and exportation of products created using your patented technology. You shouldn’t have to handle this complex process on your own. Livingston & Loeffler can help you with foreign patents.