Frequently Asked Questions

International Law: Intellectual Property

What is a Patent?

A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor, issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The right conferred by the patent grant is "the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling" the invention in the United States or "importing" the invention into the United States for a limited time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention when the patent is granted. Patents are territorial in that patent protection must be applied for in each country where protection is sought. The USPTO Inventors Assistance Center (IAC) provides patent information and services to the public. The IAC is staffed by former Supervisory Patent Examiners and experienced Primary Examiners who answer general questions concerning patent examining policy and procedure. The IAC can be reached by telephone at 800-786-9199. If you have questions regarding foreign patents, contact your local Pennsylvania Regional Export Network (REN) Partner via the contact us section of this website or call 1-866-999-HALT.

Be sure to view our international legal lessons under the Exporting Tutorials section of this website

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