Invenciones con extensión internacional

International Protection for an Invention

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To protect your invention abroad, if you already have a prior Spanish national filing, you have 12 months to claim the priority rights abroad.

The different classes of international protection are as follows: PCT, European patent and Spanish national foreign patent.


This is the most advisable means of international protection. A patent applied for according to the PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) covers most countries worldwide. Signed in Washington, it does not create an international patent in itself, but an international application offering the possibility to obtain as many national patents as designated states included among the PCT signatories. Other advantages provided are:

  • The possibility of including a large number of countries in a single application.
  • A simplified administrative process.
  • Extending the Spanish priority of rights to 31 months (direct Spanish and European patents only have 12 months priority). During this time, the possibilities of the Patent can be assessed more in depth, regarding both its technical and commercial aspects.
  • The International Search Report provides the applicant with information on the state of the art, against which the novelty and inventive activity of his invention will be compared and consequently, should said state of the art be anticipatory, he can relinquish his application prior to incurring the expenses of the national or regional stages.
  • Postponement (up to 30/31 months from the priority) of the significant expenses of the national and/or regional stages; an attractive option in the cases where the feasibility of the invention on a technical, economic and/or commercial level might not yet be determined.


The Euro-PCT is a European Patent derived from a PCT (European regional phase of a PCT). It protects the same countries as a direct European Patent application and grants the same protection. A Euro-PCT European Patent application is also examined by the European Patent Office, an institution that finally decides on its granting or rejection. The other stages of its processing (validations and annuities) are identical to those of a direct European Patent application.


Before twelve months have passed starting from the application for a patent in Spain, the applicant should consider the advisability of extending the rights granted by his application to an international level, claiming abroad his priority rights over the object of the invention, as otherwise this patent would only enjoy exclusivity throughout Spanish territory, automatically becoming part of the “public domain” in any other country. If the prospects of exploitation of the patent are exclusively limited to Europe, international protection can be applied for directly in Spain for all the signatory countries of the European Patent Convention by means of a European Patent application. The member countries of the European Patent Convention are as follows:

  • Germany
  • Austria
  • Albania
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Cyprus
  • Croatia
  • Denmark
  • Spain
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Macedonia
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • Norway
  • The Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • United Kingdom
  • Czech Republic
  • Romania
  • San Marino
  • Serbia
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey

States of Exception:

  • Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Montenegro

Once the Patent has been granted by the European body, said body grants three months for the validation of the Patent in all or some of the countries designated initially; this procedure entails additional costs in each country.


There is a third method of protection when the countries to which it is desired to extend said protection are not signatories of the PCT Treaty or members of the European Union, such as most of the countries in Central and South America. In this case, national patents are applied for directly, claiming the priority rights of a Spanish application. Thus, being a firm which has specialised in Industrial Property since 1926, we have correspondents in all countries worldwide, enabling us to lodge any Notice of Opposition or any other procedure in the designated country required for the correct management of our clients’ Industrial and Intellectual Property.

FAQs about the International Protection of an invention

What is a patent?

A patent is an exclusive right granted to an invention; that is, a product or procedure that provides, in general, a new way of doing something or a new technical solution to a problem. To be patentable, the invention must fulfil the following requirements.

What is a utility model?

A utility model is also an exclusive right granted to an invention with a lesser degree of inventiveness, consisting of providing an object with a structure from which some usefulness is derived.

What sort of international inventions are patentable?

Inventions that display novelty, provide an inventive step and also have industrial applicability are patentable.

Why are international inventions necessary?

Inventions (Patents or Utility Models) are incentives for individuals, as they provide them with recognition for their creativity and also with material reward.

What is the first step an inventor should take?

The first step would be to visit an Industrial Property expert, who will recommend the best method and strategy for the protection of his invention.

What is the priority date?

It’s the date of filing the invention application; starting on this date, a 12-month term commences to claim the priority right in other countries.

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Registro de patentes. Innovacaciones en España y a nivel internacionalales, europeas e internacionales

Patent registration

Patent your idea or innovation in Spain or on an international level, thus preventing its exploitation by third parties.


COAPI | Colegio Oficial de Agentes de la Propiedad Industrial
Ilustre Colegio de Abogados de Madrid


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If you have any doubts or would like to receive further information, you can contact us at:

91 576 33 34 (Fax)

C/Nuñez de Balboa, 31 Madrid, 28001 España

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