Patents are territorial and can only be enforced in the areas for which they're granted. A successful application for a UK patent only gives you protection in the UK.
To stop the exploitation of your invention outside the UK you need to file for patents in the countries where you want protection. Find links to intellectual property offices worldwide on the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) website.
Although in some cases you'll need to submit applications for each country concerned, there are international agreements that allow you to obtain protection in a number of countries through a single application. Read about applying for patents in other countries on the Intellectual Property Office website.
If you intend to apply for a patent in one or more countries outside the UK, you will also need to consider the following:
- The European Patent Convention (EPC) and the Patent Co-operation Treaty (PCT) could reduce the actual number of countries in which you need to apply. You can read about the PCT on the Intellectual Property Office website.
- Patent translation and their associated fees could be removed or at least reduced in European countries that are party to the London Agreement. You can read about how the London Agreement affects the language requirements of patent applications on the European Patent Office (EPO) website.
- Patent amendments - if you amend your product, you'll want to similarly amend your patent. If you hold UK and European patents, you will be able to choose between amending your European patent in the UK or at the EPO. You can download a guidance note on post-grant amendment changes under the revised European Patent Convention (EPC 2000) from the Intellectual Property Office website (PDF, 53K).
For more information see our guide on intellectual property protection overseas.
To read more helpful information see our guide on managing your patents.