If you are only considering filing a patent in one country, then as soon as your patent is granted it becomes public.

So that means that someone in China will be able to manufacture and sell the product in China as soon as they discover it in the USA database of patents?

  1. Is this what companies and individuals do?
  2. How can an inventor get around this?
  • 2
    "as soon as your patent is granted it becomes public": This is not true. Patents and patent applications become public 18 months from the earliest priority date. Commented Jan 14, 2022 at 10:33

2 Answers 2


Most patents do not lead to successful products. Someone desiring to make money by copying others would likely pursue successful products rather than newly issued patents.

It would be legal and logical to make a product in a location where it didn't infringe any patent. However, it would be infringement to sell or import that product in a location where it was patented. A U.S. patent gives the owner the right to try to stop anyone else from making, selling, offering for sale, using, or importing an infringing product in the United States.

So making in China where there is no patent does still not allow the product into a market where there is a patent. It could be made in China and sold in Europe.

Yes, it could made and sold in China.

One way to deal with this is to decide that the US market is big enough to address and not worry if it is made in Vietnam and sold in France. Another is to apply for patents in the two or three largest potential markets or see where your competitors file and follow suit.


Yes, probably there people doing this and it is completely OK so.

Life, in general, is about taking risks. And this is applicable to inventing/patenting as well.

A patent is a legal tool, which in a given country improves the chances of the inventors against infringers. As a patent holder you can prohibit others to sell/import/produce your product in a given country.

It is like an insurance against infringers which does not work at 100% in every country. Countries differ. In some countries your patent means a lot and it works 100%. In other countries you can only use your "legal tool" if you could pay the enormous high litigation costs. Or maybe the country has no effective tools against infringers. (like no effective police, or the fines are not high enough)

The inventor could patent his invention in all countries, but if you are insured for every possible danger, your costs will be sky high. That said, you pay a yearly fee for keeping a patent alive. But merely a patent or even a smart technology does not guarantee a financial success.

Also, the acceptance of an invention may differ from country to country. You probably won't sell high-tech game consoles in countries struggling with unstable electrical grid.

In any case, the inventor would like to see that in each country the profit from selling/licensing a product is higher than the cost of producing/importing (including legal fees). The inventor should consider risks/rewards and act accordingly. If an invention is not financial viable in a country, the inventor will not patent it there.

As an inventor you need to guesstimate the success of your product. As the saying goes: "Time will tell". If you have more time you will guess better.

As an inventor you can win some time, if you patent your invention only in your "test-country" first. You may collect/analyze data about the success of your product for a year. If you assume your product may sell well, you may file an international patent taking priority from the earlier application. In that case you will have at least an additional 18 months (or 30 months from the filing of the earlier application) to decide in which country you would like enter with your application.

The inventor can patent his product in the best selling and/or cheapest producing countries.

The people/companies trying to copy the product are facing the same financial risks as the inventor as they introduce the product in the market. But they are doing it in a country where the product was considered not financially viable in the first place by the inventor.

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