The protections that you receive when you file for a patent in the United States end when you cross the border. However, you may want to offer your product in another country and are concerned with your product being protected internationally. You will want to discuss with a patent lawyer whether your patent will be protected.
Rules of Reciprocity
The United States has patent agreements with several countries around the world with "rules of reciprocity." This means that if the United States has a patent treaty with another country, both countries have to respect the rules of the other country. If you are not sure if your patent will be respected in a particular country, bring this up with your patent lawyer.
You are allowed to file for a patent in as many countries as you want. This can be done in countries that do not have a treaty with the United States. However, filing for multiple patents can be expensive. It can also be expensive to defend your patent in multiple countries. Therefore, you will want to file for patents only in countries that you consider worth it.
To file for a patent in a particular country, you will want to file for protection in their patent office. While most countries have patent offices, not all countries provide the same rights as what is found in the US.
The Patent Cooperation Treaty
This is one option in which you may file for a patent that is very affordable. You may file an application for the PCT within a year of filing in the US. However, you may want to speak with a patent lawyer over whether you should file for another patent within individual foreign nations to make sure that your patent is fully protected.
The Paris Convention
Under the Paris convention, you will need to file an application in the country in which you want a patent within a year of when you file for a patent in the US. The exception is with design patents, which you will need to file within six months.
Why Legal Representation Is Important
Obtaining a patent in another country is especially difficult because you will need to understand their laws. You will also need translators so you can communicate with relevant parties. However, by speaking with a patent lawyer in the US first, you can better determine if this is a good idea.