Obtaining protection for patents, trademarks, and copyrights in the United States alone is no longer sufficient in the modern arena of international competition and global markets. International protection often needs to be extensive and can be quite expensive, but there are ways to reduce and postpone the expense in some cases. You will want to consider protection in countries where you intend to market the new product or where competitors may be poised to manufacture your product.
A patent in one country does not protect the product in any other country: You must protect a novel product or method by a separate patent in each country. In addition, different countries have different conditions that you must meet to obtain any patent protection. The first and most important restriction is the time limit within which you must file an application to obtain a patent in a country or else forever lose your right to do so.
Not all countries are the same with respect to filing deadlines. There is no period of grace in any other country but the United States, and each country has a slightly different view of what constitutes making an invention public. In Japan, for example, public use before the filing of an application bars a patent only if the public use occurred in Japan; in France, any public knowledge of the invention anywhere bars the patent.
Thus, whereas the United States allows a business ...