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International Application.
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The International Application is not a patent, but a common application recognized among the current 148 Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) participating countries.  This application process takes about 30 months and then will be used to apply to each selected foreign country separately, and can even be used to apply to the U.S. for one or two specific advantages. During this time the business or individual inventor may provide “Patent Pending” notice.
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The application is essentially the writing of a U.S. Utility Patent application and filing it with the International Bureau office.  The USPTO is one such International Application filing office.
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Highlights – Patent Considerations
See “Utility Patent” Highlights.
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The International Application filing criteria will be met by essentially filing in the form of the U.S. “Utility Patent.”  There is more emphasis on the Abstract than in the Utility Patent, because this is the aspect of the application that is translated into different languages.
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Highlights – International Process Considerations
Other specific considerations include:
  • In most instances a national U.S. application is filed first. An international application for the same subject matter will then be filed within a year.
  • Must be filed within the priority year (one year) provided by the Paris Convention to claim the priority benefit date of the U.S. national application filing date.
  • At 16 months from the priority date, the PCT (International Application) Search Authority will provide an international search report and written opinion.
  • Opportunity for usually one alteration of the application will be allowed in the weeks following this search report.
  • At 18 months from the priority date (first filing date), the application will be published.
  • At 30 months from the priority date the International Application phase ends with filing in the U.S. and chosen countries for individual country national procedures for granting of patents (MPEP 1801).  Often foreign patent filers use this long application process to decide the countries in which they will ultimately file.
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Fees
Essentially, the International Application fees = Utility Patent preparation fees (less if already written) + World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) filing fees. 
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Small Entity (50% USPTO Savings) – Fee Summary
Any person and any business with less than 500 employees qualifies.
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Other Patents
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Micro Entity (75% USPTO Savings) – Fee Summary
Any person having filed less than four patents and individually earning less than $153,051 per year.
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Other Patents
Other Patents
1, 2, and 3 – Definition of Simple, Standard, and Strategic Patent Character is available with above bar.
† – Fee amounts may vary based upon specific choices and fees may change without notice.
♦ – Full Patent Fee schedule for greater fee detail for preparation, filing, and prosecution are available.
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Foreign Patent Application
The “second phase” of gaining a foreign patent is filing with the specifically desired countries (to include the U.S.) using the International Application generated during “phase one” of the process. A foreign application must also be filed through an appropriate “Receiving Office” associated with the citizenship of at least one inventor, even though the inventors may not be citizens or nationals of country of patent interest.
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Second stage filing is the process of the International Bureau sending (ideally not the inventor) the International Application to the countries designated in the application. Direct interaction with the foreign country begins at this point with the International Bureau remaining as a resource.
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Filing An International Application then a U.S. National Stage Entry
A U.S. citizen, national, or organization may chose to file an international application first, and before filing a national U.S. application.  This would be done for various reasons, with the more common reasons being:
  • Plans to manufacture or sell in more than one country.
  • Seek to avoid patent “restriction” or having to separate out two or more inventions written in a single patent. U.S. patent law and tradition requires separating out related, but plausibly individual inventions to be separated out into their own patent applications. When filed through an International Application related, but multiple inventions, can be retained within a single U.S. Application.
  • To extend application time as the International Application process usually takes 30 months before filing to each individual foreign country of interest, to include the U.S.
  • Other more situational specific justifications.
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Custom Patents, Power Patent, and Other Details
See the full website.
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Fortress PATENTS / IP is available to provide consultation or to prepare and facilitate your patent application and patent prosecution services for an international application and foreign filing invention protections and rights. Contact us by any means to initiate a discussion and international application.