How to file an international patent

Patents are territorial and only provide protection in the country in which they are granted. This means that you must file separate patent applications in each country where protection is required. There are options for making the process of obtaining multiple international patents more straightforward, efficient and cost-effective.

As well as directly handling the filing and examination of UK, European and International (PCT) applications, we work closely with carefully chosen overseas attorneys to obtain patents outside these jurisdictions. We’ve protected IP in virtually every territory in the world where patent protection is available.

Once you’ve filed a UK patent application, there is a 12-month window in which to file additional applications outside the UK. If filed within this window, the overseas applications will be back-dated to the same filing date as your UK application — this is referred to as claiming ‘priority’.

There are three routes for obtaining protection outside the UK:

  • National application

You can file separate national patent applications in each country where protection is required.

  • PCT application

An international patent application, referred to as a ‘PCT’ application, provides provisional patent protection worldwide. However, this application is time-limited and after 30 months, national applications must be filed in each country in which protection is required, and protection in the remaining countries lapses.

  • European patent application

A single patent application filed at the European Patent Office (EPO) provides patent protection in almost all European countries.


For more information, contact us.

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