MPEP Q & A 55: Obtaining Permission to File a Patent Application Abroad

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Question:

What are the two ways in which permission to file a patent application abroad may be obtained?

Answer:

The two ways in which permission to file a patent application abroad may be obtained include:

  1. either a petition for a foreign filing license may be granted, or
  2. an applicant may wait 6 months after filing a patent application in the USPTO at which time a license on that subject matter is no longer required as long as no Secrecy Order has been imposed.

Chapter Details:

The answer to this question can be found in chapter 100 of the MPEP. This chapter covers Secrecy, Access, National Security and Foreign Filing.

The answer is from the 9th Edition, Revision 07.2015. Depending on future changes to the MPEP, the question and answer may or may not be applicable in later Editions or revisions.

Section Summary:

This question and answer comes from section 140 of the MPEP.  The following is a brief summary of section 140.

140 Foreign Filing Licenses

This section covers both expedited foreign filing licenses and retroactive licenses. Essentially, if an inventor files a patent application in the U.S., he or she may not file the same application in a foreign country prior to the passing of six months without first obtaining a foreign filing license. If the inventor files in a foreign country before the 6 month waiting period has passed without getting a license first, he or she must immediately file for a retroactive license.

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