Considerations for Outside Companies Looking to File Patents in U.S.

Filing a patent in the U.S. from outside the country is advantageous for many reasons. To preface any benefits, it should be noted that anyone, regardless of citizenship or commercial presence in the U.S., may file a patent application with the USPTO. That is good news for anyone looking to take advantage of the world’s largest GDP and robust legal protections inside the U.S. for registered intellectual property. 

There are, however, unique considerations that those outside the U.S. should address before filing a patent application with the USPTO. Here are a few we have compiled:

  • Inventors (or qualified representatives of inventors) must file a patent application in the U.S. within 12 months after filing an application in a foreign jurisdiction. The timeline contracts to six months in the case of design patents. This rule is referred to as the right of priority
  • If a foreign application has been filed before applying for patent protection in the U.S., the earliest date of filing in any foreign jurisdiction must be noted in the U.S. application to successfully claim priority.
  • In the U.S., the inventor (or qualified representatives of inventors) must sign a declaration or oath with the USPTO. This step is not required in many foreign jurisdictions. 
  • There are a number of requirements for how application paperwork must be gathered and presented to the USPTO. One of these conditions involves a ribbon that must be passed through every sheet and, eventually, affixed with a seal that imprints the two ends. 
  • There might be actions one can take through the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and the Paris Convention that may expedite certain parts of the process for obtaining patent protection inside and outside the U.S. One further advantage enjoyed by PCT filers is that an international search is conducted when the application is filed.
  • Any outside company or individual filing for patent protection in the U.S. must be represented by an attorney registered to practice law before the USPTO.


Van Court & Aldridge is a nimble and flexible IP firm with extensive experience prosecuting patents and establishing patent portfolios for high-tech clients. We have done consultative work for large corporations, solo inventors, and everyone in between. As small business owners ourselves, we understand the financial challenges and opportunities faced by entrepreneurs. 

We are proud to help anyone seeking patent protection inside the U.S. To discuss your options with our team today, get in touch with us here through our website.

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Van Court & Aldridge LLP

Van Court & Aldridge LLP is a boutique patent law firm that provides a wide range of patent-related legal services.

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