Can a US company which does not hold a patent for a product or method sell a US patented product or use a US patented method overseas without a licensing agreement?

Is a US patent enforceable against a registered US company or subsidiary regardless of where the US company trades?

3 Answers 3


With small exceptions, infringing a U.S. patent requires infringement within the US. An infringement could include making, selling, offering for sale, using and importing. Anyone can make a US patented item outside of the US and sell it outside the US without infringing the US patent. It doesn't matter one way or the other that a company is registered, headquartered, or traded in the US.


Part A Yes, so long as the patent is not registered in the third country.

Part B No the patent gives protection only in the specific country where it is registered as per the local laws.

  • I would NOT answer with a simple yes and no, the reason is there are quite a few things the OP has to consider.
    – abRao
    Oct 10, 2015 at 5:31
  • To be subject to federal laws against infringement in the USA, the defendant would need to infringe the patent within the jurisdiction of the US federal courts. This would also apply to contributory infringement, for which there must also be primary infringement. If they make an infringing component in the USA, intended to be completed overseas, that would probably be illegal. If they make an article having a non-infringing use in the USA, that would be a different question, even if it is later converted to an infringing article outside the jurisdiction of the relevant patents.
    – Upnorth
    Jul 28, 2017 at 21:37
  • If the production if happening in US, the patent holder has rights over the IP and hence can settle or go to the court. Else, the holder has to apply for rights in the other country where the production of the product is happening and then claim rights. If the country has agreed to TRIPS, the producing company cannot claim rights over the IP even though no one has filed for patent rights. Mar 6, 2018 at 6:49

Yes, for part A. No one is required to check for the use of patent or check on the methods they employ, if they unknowingly do it and there is no patent protection for a manufactured product or a patent protection for a method they employ in a place where no protection has ever been.

Unclear question, for part B. If the patent covers the use of the intellectual property being employed under the specifics at hand and the patent is infringed by another, then it is enforceable in a court of competent jurisdiction and is therefore considered "in force," otherwise the answer is no definitely not.
---continued on below----- Whether the party in question who is infringing by some action the intellectual property rights of another is a "regigistered US Company" is immaterial to the real question of infringement as long as the "other party" is a real entity defined by law to be within the jurisdiction of the court of competency who renders the decision and may announce a judgement for which the "other party" can legally respond.


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