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.
Protect patents in international markets
To stop the exploitation of your invention outside the UK, you will need to file for patents in the countries where you want protection.
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.
Things to consider when applying for patents abroad
If you intend to apply for a patent in one or more countries outside the UK, you will 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. To find out more, read GOV.UK's guidance on the PCT.
- Patent translation and their associated fees could be removed or at least reduced in European countries that are party to the London Agreement. To find out more, read European Patent Office's (EPO) guidance on London Agreement.
- 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 (PDF, 53K).
Find details of intellectual property offices worldwide.