Applying for a patent abroad
There is no authority that can grant a worldwide patent. A patent is a national right. A patent gives you rights only in the country in which you have obtained a patent.
If you wish to apply for a patent in several countries, you have several options:
- you can first apply in Norway and then apply in other countries with a basis (priority) in the Norwegian application
- you can file a patent application at the national authority in each individual country where you wish to obtain patent protection
- you can make use of international or regional procedures that make it possible to apply for patents in several countries at the same time
- you can apply in another country and then apply in Norway (and if appropriate in other countries) with a basis (priority) in the first application.
To avoid spending time and money applying for protection in other countries for inventions that prove to not be patentable, we recommend that you start by filing a patent application at the Norwegian Industrial Property Office. Within 7 months after filing the application, you will receive a response with a statement on patentability. The statement can give you a good indication of the outcome of a patent application in other countries.
If you have applied for a patent in one country (for example Norway) and wish to apply for a patent in several other countries, you must make sure that you apply within 12 months after filing an application in the first country. You can claim priority from the first application (the priority application).
Priority means that your application also gives you rights in the other countries in which you file an application, from the day when you applied in Norway. If others have applied for a patent for an equivalent invention during the course of this 12-month period, your patent application will take precedence because of its older priority (you filed your patent application at an earlier date). Priority also means that questions about whether the invention is new and has an inventive step are assessed on the basis of the situation existing on the priority date.
You can claim priority from the first application (the priority application) at the same time as filing the application abroad within twelve months, or submit the priority claim before the time limit set by the individual country.
You must also submit a priority certificate. The Norwegian Industrial Property Office will issue such a priority certificate on payment of a set fee. Order a priority certificate in Altinn , or via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If the priority year has elapsed, you will not, as a rule, be able to claim priority from the first application when applying for a patent in other countries. In some countries it is nevertheless possible, on certain conditions, to obtain priority on an application filed up to two months late.
You must keep your invention secret
Your invention must not be divulged to others before you have filed a patent application. An invention that has been demonstrated at a trade fair, discussed in a trade journal or newspaper or been published in some other way has been divulged to others. A patent application is published 18 months after it has been filed. Make sure that you do not make your invention public before you have applied in all the countries in which you wish to apply. Different rules may apply in some countries, for example a grace period.
Inventions of importance to defence
An invention of importance to defence is an invention that is of such a nature that it can be deemed to be of significance to the defence of the realm, for example military equipment. Such inventions are kept secret.
If you wish to apply for a patent abroad for an invention of importance to defence, you must contact the National Security Authority (NSM) for clarification. This must be done in good time before the application is to be filed in the individual country.
You cannot use the international patent system (PCT) or the European patent system (EPC), because neither of these systems makes it possible to keep applications secret.
- Read more about the regulatory framework for inventions of importance to defence.(link coming)
Professional assistance in the application process
We recommend obtaining professional assistance in planning and carrying out an application process in Norway and abroad, in order to obtain the best possible rights to your invention. The process can be complex for inexperienced applicants.
- A list of professional patent agents can be found on the website iprhjelp.no: Rådgiverdatabasen (in Norwegian only) or on Google.
- Read more about how a patent agency can help you
Portal for small and medium-sized enterprises
The United States and the EU have cooperated on a portal for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The portal contains information and useful links on protection of intellectual property rights (patents, trademarks and designs) for businesses wishing to enter foreign markets around the world. The target group is businesses in the United States and the EU, but Norwegian businesses will also find useful information on the TransAtlantic IPR Portal.
Innovation Norway can help you establish your company abroad.