I have a patent idea, and searched the US patents. Nothing comes up, but then I searched the European patent office and a similar, but not the same item comes up. Does this matter since I would be patenting in the US? I am totally new to this.

  • If you tell us what the European patent number is, we can help you figure out if there is a US equivalent.
    – Eric S
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 20:07

2 Answers 2


Prior art for novelty and for inventive step is assessed worldwide, so it doesn't matter where the document originated, it has to be considered for patentability.

For patent infringement only the countries your product enters or is produced in matter.

  • I do not understand the first part of your comment. So let's say I have an invention for a new box design, and there is no patent in the US for a box with my design, but when I search the European patents there is a box with a similar design and function though not identical. Does that matter in terms of me applying for a US patent?
    – Egirl
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 14:25
  • Yes. Do you know the requirements for a patent?
    – user18033
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 14:29
  • I was only told so far to do a search, then do the provisional patent application, but it was my understanding that if there is no US patent it is ok since I will be doing the application for the US.
    – Egirl
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 14:36
  • Then first you should read about the requirements of patentability and the difference between utility patents and design patents. At the requirements for the former you will find novelty and non obviousness (= inventive step). Then my answer will make more sense to you. You can always come back with questions here of course.
    – user18033
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 14:40
  • For doing a patent application it does not matter if the prior art (which might prevent you from getting a patent if to similar) is from the US or anywhere else.
    – user18033
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 14:41

A simple way to think about it is you can only patent something new. If it has been written about before, anywhere in the world in any language, it isn't new. Of course, like everything else about patents, it is more complicated than that.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .