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Texas inventors might discover that there is a market for their ideas and/or products outside the country. Some patented material needs to be protected beyond the borders of the United States. This is where international patent law can be useful.

There is an element of strategy when deciding how to file international patent applications. It is possible to file an application with individual countries if desired. There is another alternative, however.

The Patent Convention Treaty (PCT) allows inventors to file one application that will cover numerous countries. During the national phase, applicants will have up to 30 months to decide which countries should be included. A Texas inventor would ordinarily file a PCT application within one year of filing a patent application here in the United States.

As would be the case with the patent process here in this country, you should enlist the advice and guidance of a patent attorney. When choosing a patent attorney to help with an international patent, it would be a good idea to be sure that he or she handles these matters on a regular basis. Such a person would more than likely already have relationships with attorneys in other countries and is used to international dealings.

International patent law can be just as complex as the process is here in the United States. It would not be advisable to attempt the process on your own. You have too much at stake not to ensure that the process goes smoothly. Once your patents are in place, your rights will be -- and can be -- protected.

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