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How can I register a patent/trademark/copyright so that it is valid worldwide?

Hello, I would like to know the process to register patent/trademark/copyright for worldwide validity. Thanks for your advice!

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Dear Sarfraz,

I am a patent attorney in Washington DC. Please note that the information below simply provides some general guidelines and should not be interpreted as legal advice. I can only provide legal advice to clients who have engaged my law firm (www.harvestiplaw.com)

With respect to patents, once someone has drafted a patent application, the drafted application can be filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). PCT is an international patent law treaty. It provides a unified procedure for filing patent applications to protect inventions in each of its contracting states. A patent application filed under the PCT is called an international application, or PCT application. A single filing of a PCT application is made with a Receiving Office (RO) in one language. It then results in a search performed by an International Searching Authority (ISA), accompanied by a written opinion regarding the patentability of the invention, which is the subject of the application. It is optionally followed by a preliminary examination, performed by an International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA). Finally, the relevant national or regional authorities administer matters related to the examination of application (if provided by national law) and issuance of patent. A PCT application does not itself result in the grant of a patent, since there is no such thing as an "international patent", and the grant of patent is a prerogative of each national or regional authority. In other words, a PCT application, which establishes a filing date in all contracting states, must be followed up with the step of entering into national or regional phases to proceed towards grant of one or more patents. The PCT procedure essentially leads to a standard national or regional patent application, which may be granted or rejected according to applicable law, in each jurisdiction in which a patent is desired.

With respect to filing a trademark internationally, a trademark can be filed under the Madrid Protocol, which is the primary international system for facilitating the registration of trademarks in multiple jurisdictions around the world. The Madrid Protocol provides a centrally administered system of obtaining a bundle of trademark registrations in separate jurisdictions. Registration through the Madrid system does not create an 'international' registration, as in the case of the European Community Trade Mark system; rather, it creates a bundle of national rights able to be administered centrally. Madrid provides a mechanism for obtaining trademark protection in many countries around the world which is more effective than seeking protection separately in each individual country or jurisdiction of interest. The Madrid Protocol provides for the international registration of trade marks by way of one application that can cover more than one country. The opportunity of having a single registration to cover a wide range of countries gives advantages, both in terms of portfolio management and cost savings, as opposed to a portfolio of independent national registrations.

With respect to copyrights, there is no such thing as an “international copyright” that will automatically protect an author’s writings throughout the world. Protection against unauthorized use in a particular country depends on the national laws of that country. However, most countries offer protection to foreign works under certain conditions that have been greatly simplified by international copyright treaties and conventions. There are two principal international copyright conventions, the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (Berne Convention) and the Universal Copyright Convention (UCC).

If you would like to engage my law firm please feel free to contact me (Arash). My information is on my website www.harvestiplaw.com


There are several steps to registering a patent, but the first and most important thing to do is to find a reputable patent attorney near you. There are a number of documents that go with registering a patent and it is up to the patent/trademark/copyright holder to instruct the attorney in which countries it is being registered. Keep in mind, the more countries in which you register, the higher your fees will be as each country has a patent/trademark/copyright registration fee. When you contact the attorney be sure to ask for references and in how many countries they've registered patents as each country also has it own registration process.

Good luck!


Unfortunately, there is no way to have a patent/trademark/copyright that is recognized worldwide because what is valid in one country isn't always going to be acknowledged in another; however, certain groups of countries do work together in establishing cross-border rights to those with patents and so forth. I encourage you to check out the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) online website to get some additional information. Though I do agree with Karen here, your most advantageous option is to find a patent attorney with international experience.


Dear Sarfraz:

That's a very broad question with no straight answer other than to consult with an intellectual property attorney. Patents, trademarks and copyrights are all separate rights with different means of protection and each are protectible only country by country. There is no such thing as "worldwide" patent or trademark or copyright. The best that you could do to consolidate countries is to obtain EU trademarks and/or patents which cover the 27 or so members of the EU. Good luck.


Regrettably, there is no way to obtain a world-wide registration for any ot those rights. That being said there are agencies where you can submit an application to obtain a registration in certain selected companies. For Example, one can file an application with WIPO and designate the countries where you seek protection.

Also, under the BERN Convention, copyright protection extend to all countries upon creation at no cost. However, registration may be required if you wish to enforce your rights.(For example in the US). Again, this costs money.

If you really want to register your patent/mark/copyright world wide, you must be prepared to spend hundreds of thousands or even millions in the attempt.

I will be happy to answer further questions or provide more detail. Please contact me .

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