So if I had a U.S. provisional or non-provisional that wasn’t yet published, disclosed in any way, and was not yet filed as a PCT is there anything stopping a foreign country from doing so?

Say in the case of a patent with a national competitiveness aspect where there would be incentive for a foreign country to (if somehow aware despite none of the public disclosures above - espionage) prevent a patent internationally, in their country, or even to steal the IP. Is there a way that after filing my provisional and on my way to the PCT that a foreign country can’t just say a non-provisional was filed a month earlier and change the date?

Is there an international system for dating a patent outside of the PCT process (which would still have the same problem since it gives priority to domestic patents).

  • There are many things to worry about in the U.S. and world-wide patent systems but this is not one of them. Patent offices in the industrialized world are large bureaucratic organizations.
    – George White
    Apr 28, 2021 at 4:46

1 Answer 1


No - except the part where this would cripple your countries patent system for a long time if it ever came out. Potentially all patents ever filed in your country serving as priority could be invalid in other countries. Your patent publications might not be accepted as prior art anymore. So overall, I don't think it's a good idea strategically. But no, afaik there is no international system to prevent this kind of systematic fraud.

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