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I don't live in the USA - Can I file a US patent application?


If you live in a country that requires a foreign filing license before you file outside that country, and have created an invention in that country, but you want to file a patent application in another country (such as the US), then you will either need to get a Foreign Filing License (FFL), or file a patent application in your own country before you file in the US. In many cases getting a Foreign Filing License is simply a formality, and in some countries, the invention has to be submitted to the national patent office to make sure it is not relevant to national security or military applications. If in any doubt you must ask the Patent Office in your country. They will be familiar with the current rules. Below is a list of requirements for a number of countries. However, before you file, you absolutely MUST check with your country’s patent office before you file, to make sure the rules are current. If you do not get a FFL and your file anyway, your patent may be invalidated.


FFL REQUIREMENTS FOR VARIOUS COUNTRIES

Argentina: No FFL is required

Australia: No FFL is required

Austria: No FFL is required

Belarus: You must file in your country before you file anywhere else

Belgium: A FFL is required only if invention has military/security applications

Brazil: No FFL is required

Canada: A foreign filing license is required only for Canadian government employees

China (The Peoples Republic of China): see below

Czech Republic: A FFL is required only if invention has military/security applications

Cyprus: You must file in your country before you file anywhere else

Denmark: A FFL is required only if invention has military/security applications

Finland: A FFL is required only if invention has military/security applications

France: A foreign filing license is required if inventor is a French national or the company’s principle place of business is France

Germany: A FFL is required only if invention has military/security applications. If the patent application does not contain a state secret, the applicant is free to file outside the Germany without undergoing a secrecy review.

Greece: You must file in your country before you file anywhere else

Hong Kong: No FFL is required

Hungary: You must file in your country before you file anywhere else

India: FFL required or file national application first

Indonesia: No FFL is required

Ireland: No FFL is required

Israel: A FFL is required only if invention has military/security applications

Italy: FFL required or file national application first

Japan: No FFL is required

Kazakhstan: You must file in your country before you file anywhere else

Korea: A FFL is required only if invention has military/security applications

Liechtenstein: No FFL is required

Luxembourg: A FFL is required only if invention has military/security applications

Malaysia: FFL required or file national application first

Mexico: No FFL is required

Monaco: No FFL is required

New Zealand: No FFL is required

Netherlands: A FFL is required only if invention has military/security applications

Philippines: No FFL is required

Poland: No FFL is required

Portugal: No FFL is required

Russia: You must file in your country before you file anywhere else

Singapore: FFL required or file national application first

Slovak Republic: A FFL is required only if invention has military/security applications

South Africa: No FFL is required

Spain: FFL required or file national application first

Sri Lanka: No FFL is required

Sweden: A FFL is required only if invention has military/security applications

Switzerland: No FFL is required

Taiwan: No FFL is required

Thailand: No FFL is required

Venezuela: No FFL is required

Vietnam: You must file in your country before you file anywhere else

United Kingdom: A FFL is required only if invention has military/security applications. A UK resident seeking to file its patent application abroad is required to first obtain a foreign filing permit from the UK Intellectual Property Office only if the application contains information which relates to military technology or national security. See https://www.gov.uk/guidance/manual-of-patent-practice-mopp/section-23-restrictions-on-applications-abroad-by-united-kingdom-residents

United States: A foreign filing license is required. It is nearly always granted automatically and will be shown on your filing receipt. If the application has military/security applications, it may be reviewed and the FFL delayed or refused.


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