If you have designed a product that you believe is unique and has the potential for success, it’s important to patent the product. That way, no one else will be able to copy or steal your idea, thereby reducing the chances of your product being a success.
However, instead of just applying for a patent within your country, it may be a good idea to apply for a patent worldwide. With a worldwide patent, your product is protected from any copy or theft no matter where you go.
It used to be very difficult to apply for a worldwide patent, but in the last few years it has become MUCH easier.
To start, visit the website of the World Intellectual Property Organization. Instead of submitting an application for a patent in each country, the WIPO allows you to submit a single application and obtain a worldwide patent. You only need to pay a single fee, and the application only needs to be filed in one language.
There are three types of protection offered by the WIPO:
- Protection of industrial designs -- For those who have created a product with industrial uses, this patent gives you ownership of the design around the world, in accordance with the Hague Agreement.
- Protection of trademarks -- Let’s say you register the name "Geraldine’s" as your trademark. No other place around the world can use that same trademark, thanks to the Madrid System. As long as there are no identical or similar trademarks in the countries where you are applying for a patent, there should be no problem.
- Protection of inventions -- If you have invented a new product that you would like to patent, the PCT System ensures that no one can steal your product design or concept. You can receive protection in nearly 150 countries by filing via the WIPO.
The WIPO website walks you through the steps of filing out the patent worldwide, and you’ll find that the process, while fairly long, is not as complicated as you might expect. Simply follow the instructions on the WIPO website, and you’ll have no problems.
Once your worldwide patent is granted, it is valid for 20 years from the date that it was filed. You, as the inventor/creator of the product, trademark, or design, need to apply for the patent, or sign over your rights to the person who will apply for you. Your patent may take up to 4 years to be properly processed and delivered in its country of origin, though in some cases the process can be expedited. Just so you know, filling out a worldwide patent application adds about two and a half years to the patenting process.
If you want to ensure that your worldwide patent is filled out as efficiently as possible, it’s worth hiring a patent lawyer to help you. While you can provide a decent description of your product, you want a patent lawyer to do the drafting of the product for you. It’s the best way to ensure that you get the maximum protection for your invention, trademark, or design!
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