I know that some countries have security concern, and patent must be filed at domestic office to check for security before filing at foreign office.

The question is, what if I filed at foreign office (e.g. USPTO) from a country with that security requirement? Will the USPTO reject my application if my own country request it, e.g. based on some international treaties.

If there isn't any treaty for that kind of action, and all the punishment is purely based on my own country, then I can ignore that procedure and accept the penalty.

  • Just a general note for 'first office of filing' purposes, it doesn't matter what one's citizenship is, but where the invention was conceived.
    – user132162
    Dec 14, 2017 at 1:58

3 Answers 3


Take a look at this one, I think it answers some of your thoughts. It discusses the most prominent cases of national law provisions. Penalty may be the invalidation of the payment, or even jail (Table 1). Perhaps you should reconsider it.



Every country in the world has some sort of export regulations. These regulations cover information and data in addition to things. From the US point of view, patent applications filed outside of the US will require a foreign filing license which is routinely granted.

When an inventor sends information regarding their invention outside of their home country, one needs to check the regulations to determine whether the information in question is controlled. For example, if you are in Malaysia, you would check the MITI website to ensure that your invention can be "exported" in the form of a patent application. Since I don't know which country you are in, I am not aware of your local regulations. In general, you will not need an export license for things for which you don't need an export license. (A tautology, I know.) You would keep track of the export, the dates, to whom the items were shipped, etc. It would only be in the instance where a violation occurred that you would have a problem. Check with your local patent office before filing overseas.

To continue the Malaysia example, if your invention related to a novel method of operating a nuclear reactor, your invention would probably be categorized under ECCN 0E001. ECCN stands for 'export control classification number'. Sending that type of patent application outside the country would require a license from Malaysia's Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB). As you might imagine, knowingly exporting controlled information like this is a crime and you may well be visited by local law enforcement as a result.

In the US, the USPTO will handle the basics of this inquiry and grant foreign filing licenses where appropriate (i.e. most of the time). Where an invention is classified at a higher level, the relevant government agencies will be notified and given and opportunity to weigh in on whether you should be able to file outside the US. For dual use (civilian/military) items the Department of Commerce will get the nod and you will be working with the US Export Administration Regulations (EAR). For military items, the Department of State has jurisdiction and the relevant rules will be the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

To summarize, improper exports of information in the form of a patent application generally only matter to the home country. Note that if your invention falls afoul of export regulations in your home country, your products may also have these restrictions.

Good luck.


The US generally does not care about your home country's security clearance (or foreign filing license) requirements. Unless you try to file for a patent in your home country, there may be no penalty at all for filing for a patent first outside your home country, other than no patent rights being available in your home country. Other countries may fine or imprison you, if they find out.

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