Once a startup enterprise or small company has decided to file for patent protection in the United States, a common question for consideration is whether it should also file in foreign countries. As the world economy and markets expand, considering such protective action is becoming increasingly important. However, due to the potentially high costs involved, this decision should be made carefully, based on present and future business considerations.
Making the Decision
Deciding whether or not to file for international patent protection is a business decision and should include careful consideration of the costs and benefits of a patent in the specific foreign country where the patent is filed. For example, many potential foreign partners may want patent protection in their respective countries before considering joint ventures and the like with U.S. companies. However, many foreign countries impose higher maintenance fees for patents than the U.S. Patent maintenance fees are the periodic fees paid to maintain the patent application or the issued patent during their respective life spans; and, due to their periodic nature, maintenance fees can become a significant investment.
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