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Patents and trademarks are territorial and must be applied for in each country where protection is sought. A U.S. patent or trademark does not afford protection in another country. For more information on how to apply for individual patents or trademarks in a foreign country, contact the intellectual property office in that country directly. A list of contact information for most intellectual property offices worldwide can be found here.
The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) streamlines the process of filing patents in multiple countries. By filing one patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), U.S. applicants can concurrently seek protection in up to 146 countries (as of Feb. 2013).For information about filing an international patent application under the PCT, visit the USPTO website.
The Madrid Protocol makes it easier to file for trademark registration in multiple countries. By filing one "international" trademark registration application with the USPTO, U.S. applicants can concurrently seek protection in up to 88 countries (as of Feb. 2013). For information about filing an international trademark registration application under the Madrid Protocol, visit the USPTO website.
Watch an introductory video on Overview of Trademarks (USPTO) including the Madrid Protocol.
Although most countries do not require copyright registration in order to enjoy copyright protection, registration can offer several benefits, such as proof of ownership. The United States has copyright relations with most countries throughout the world, and as a result of these agreements, we honor each other's citizens' and businesses' copyrights. However, the United States does not have such copyright relationships with every country. A listing of countries and the nature of their copyright relations with the United States is available here.
Watch an introductory video on Copyright: Encouraging and Protecting Creativity (USPTO).