Small businesses hurt in international patent arena

A recent USPTO report, International Patent Protections for Small Businesses, found that small companies often face daunting financial challenges when it comes to protecting intellectual property overseas.  However, when done early in the life of the company, “international patenting can provide a platform for tapping new markets later in life,” the report, prepared with the Small Business Administration (SBA) and mandated by the America Invents Act, stated.

What’s particularly difficult is that high patenting costs often occur early in the life of these companies, when funding and cash flows are generally limited, notes  As a result, U.S. small businesses may be patenting less frequently than larger firms. In addition, unlike the USPTO, which gives price breaks to small businesses, foreign patent agencies do not.

The report’s recommendations:

  • The U.S. Government should engage in diplomacy and harmonization to reduce the costs associated with filing foreign patent applications.
  • The USPTO and SBA should partner in an expanded IP education and training initiative aimed at American small businesses.
  • The USPTO and SBA should engage industry to discuss how best to support U.S. small business efforts to patent internationally.