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Your Guide to Enforcing International Patents

On Behalf of | Dec 2, 2023 | Patent Law

What Are the International Patent Laws?

If you provide products and services worldwide and have a patent for them, you should understand international patent laws. The patent protection granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office only applies within the US borders. That means you can’t use a US-issued patent to prevent anyone in other jurisdictions from using your invention.

Experts in intellectual property and business legal services in Illinois say that a single international patent doesn’t exist. Therefore, you must seek protection in each country if you wish to have international patent protection. The process can be complex and lengthy, but legal experts can help you navigate the murky waters.

Is It Worth Obtaining and Enforcing International Patents?

Generally, it may only be worth obtaining and enforcing international patents if your target countries are primary markets for your goods or services. The process of obtaining and enforcing the patents would require that you hire attorneys in those countries to help you.

Under the rules of reciprocity, a country that issues you a patent should provide you with the same rights as a patent owner who is a citizen of that country. That would happen if your government and the one granting you a patent have signed an international treaty providing patent protection.

Overall, unless you are operating a large business with an international presence, obtaining and enforcing international patents would not be worthwhile. Skilled patent opinion lawyers in Chicago can help you evaluate your options. If you determine you should pursue international patents, they can help you partner with relevant international patent bodies to make the process easier.

Partnering with the US Customs and Border Protection

One of the primary federal agencies you should partner with in enforcing your international patents is the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The agency is responsible for securing America’s borders, including protecting intellectual rights. CBP safeguards against the infringement of US patents, trademarks, and copyrights and intercepts pirated or counterfeit goods.

The agency has strict measures for enforcing intellectual property rights at the border. Through a risk-based approach, the agency can mitigate the risk of fraudulent shipments.

Enforcement of Patents by the CBP

CBP can exclude, detain, or seize imported goods that infringe federally recorded and registered trademarks and copyrights. The agency is covered by an exclusion order by the International Trade Commission.

CBP partners with other federal agencies and foreign governments to protect businesses. One crucial partnership is with the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center). Through IPR, CBP participates in multi-agency operations targeting counterfeit and pirated goods.

Another crucial partnership is with the trade community. Enforcement of intellectual property rights is complex, and partnering with the rights owners and industry organizations is critical to effectively enforcing intellectual property rights.

How Can I Partner with CBP to Protect My International Patents?

The infringement of patent rights is a global problem that calls for collaboration between customs agencies and rights owners. Patent opinion lawyers in Chicago recommend partnering with CBP to enjoy the numerous benefits and ensure maximum intellectual property rights protection.

With the help of reputable Illinois intellectual property and business legal services, here are specific steps you can take to maximize your relationship with CBP:

Record Intellectual Property with CBP (e-Recordation)

You can record patents, trademarks, and copyrights registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office with CBP to maximize their protection at the border. The benefits of e-Recordation are:

  • Elimination of paper applications and the need for supporting documents
  • Availing property rights information at the ports to enhance infringement determinations
  • Allowing you to upload images of your protected rights


It’s advisable to submit allegations of infringing shipments or services to CBP. With this information, the agency can target these activities and refer cases for criminal investigations. Once you report instances of infringed goods, CBP disseminates the information to the appropriate offices or investigators.

You can make anonymous submissions, including photos and other relevant documentation. If an issue poses an immediate threat to public health and safety, report it to CBP’s 1-800-BE-ALERT.

Information Sharing

Enforcing international patents, copyrights, and trademarks by the CBP employs a risk-based targeting model to determine shipments that are most likely to contain infringing goods. The information you share with the agency is crucial in this identification while facilitating legitimate trade.

CBP reaches out to patent rights owners for assistance in making infringement determinations, but you can also take proactive steps to help the agency. Chicago patent opinion attorneys recommend including the following crucial information in your product identification guide:

  • Company information
  • The intellectual property you own
  • Business registration number
  • Manufacturing information
  • Contact information
  • Recordation number
  • International Trade Commission investigation number
  • Product’s physical characteristics
  • Photos of genuine and suspect versions of the product
  • An appropriate legal disclaimer

If possible, ensure your company provides product training sessions to CBP officials at the port. Face-to-face interaction with the officers and import specialists enhances the enforcement of your international patents.

An Experienced Patent Opinion Lawyer Helping You Enforce International Patents

Obtaining and enforcing an international patent can be challenging, especially for small businesses. However, skilled patent opinion attorneys in Chicago can work with you toward this quest. They can start by conducting due diligence on potential foreign and local partners, with an excellent starting point being the US Customs and Border Protection agency.

AU LLC is a reputable intellectual property and business legal service in Illinois. We can help you pursue international patents after evaluating your business and the prospects of obtaining the rights. Our firm will be the middle ground, handling all the legal complexities of intellectual property protection in foreign territories. Let us take the worry about protecting your business off your shoulders to help you focus on what you do best. Call us at for a consultation.