USPTO Releases Congressional Report on International Patent Protections for Small Businesses

As mandated by the America Invents Act, on January 13, 2012, the USPTO delivered to Congress their study on International Patent Protections for Small Businesses. Though its goals were certainly ambitious and commendable, review of the report indicates that, ultimately, very little was accomplished in terms of benefiting the individual inventor or small business applicant.

The first portion of the report reiterates what most of us know already. Some of these “findings” include:

  • Patenting can be important to the competitiveness of small businesses;
  • Patent protection abroad opens opportunities for successful entry into global markets;
  • Small businesses may be obtaining patent protection abroad less frequently than large companies;
  • International patenting costs are often substantial, and
  • Patenting expenses often occur early in the life of small businesses and are difficult to fund.

The USPTO then offers a few recommendations for aiding small businesses in obtaining international patent protection. The recommendations include diplomatic discussions to reduce foreign patent filing fees, increased IP education programs for small businesses, and a general objective to gather more information on ways to help the small inventor. Unfortunately, the report found little support for the proposal with the most immediate impact to small businesses – direct subsidizing of patent costs. It will be interesting to see what impact, if any, these propositions will provide for the small applicant.

As the report indicates, foreign patent filing costs can be expensive. As a reminder, inovia is often able to reduce the cost of foreign filing by 20-50%. Create a free account to compare our costs for PCT national stage entry or European validation.


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