Can a non-U.S. citizen file for a patent in the U.S.? the answer is yes. For a person who is not a citizen of the United States, the rules are the same for filing a patent as those for the U.S. citizens adhering to certain qualifying criterion. The U.S. patent laws make no discrimination on the grounds of the nationality/citizenship of an individual for filing patents for inventions. In order to obtain a patent in the United States, an individual must present a patent application for his invention to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). After presenting the application, the non U.S. citizen is required to sign a declaration regarding his invention. Going further with the USPTO laws regarding the filing of a patent, an individual is required to furnish the following information:
1. Full name identification of the person.
2. Identification of the nationality of each individual.
3. Statement signifying that the person making the declaration or oath believes that the inventor is the original inventor of his invention.
4. Statement signifying that the individual filing for patent understands and accepts the terms of the declaration or oath being made by him.
5. Also, the individual must provide a declaration that he acknowledges the duty to disclose to the office all information known to the person to be material to patentability.
The patent filing trend in the United States by the non U.S. citizens grew considerably in the year 2012. The percentage of total foreign utility patents granted rose to 52% from 49% in the year 2007. For filing a patent in the U.S. one does not need to hire an expensive lawyer so as to accomplish the process of obtaining a patent for his invention. This can be done in a very cost-effective way. The USPTO bestows the inventor with a boilerplate form [ PTO/SB/01] which ascertains that the process of filing the patent for an invention is followed correctly and all information is authentic. In addition to this the non U.S. citizens who wish to file a patent in the U.S. have to submit an Information Disclosure Statement (IDS) that lists the prior art that the inventor filing for a patent feels is the closest to his invention, another boilerplate form [ PTO/SB/01] is issued to the inventor in this respect.
In order to file a patent in the U.S., a non U.S. citizen shall appoint a patent attorney who is registered with the USPTO. If the inventor has already patented his invention abroad for a period exceeding 12 months, in such a case he cannot file for a patent in the USPTO for his invention. However, if the individual for his invention files for a patent in the United States within 12 months then he can enjoy the “right of priority” act.
Another major factor that played a significant role in the growth of the U.S. patent filings by foreign applicants is technology. The increased use of web-driven tools for filing patents helped reduce the time involved in filing a patent considerably. Also, the patents could be filed in a more cost-effective way.