6 – Patents Are Rights With Geographic Boundaries

A patent is awarded by the government of a country and is valid only within its territorial boundaries. To obtain a patent that is valid in a particular country, a request must be made in that country’s patent office.

There are several regional patent offices, such as the European Patent Office (EPO) and the African Regional Industry Organization (ARIPO). They provide a centralized searching and examination authority for the countries that subscribe to the treaties administered by these regional offices. However, a patent is only obtained in the individual countries after registering the patent in their patent offices, paying any national fees and filing translations of the patents if necessary. This process is called conversion.

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