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20. What about foreign filing?

A U.S. patent only prevents others from making, using, or selling the invention within the United States. If patent protection in other countries is also desired, then applications should be filed in those countries as well. This must be done within one year of the United States filing in order to maintain the U.S. filing date for utility applications, and within six months for design applications. Also, it is very important to note that almost all foreign countries do not have a one year grace period within which a patent may be filed after disclosure of the invention. Therefore, if an inventor intends to file in one or more foreign countries, it is mandatory the invention be kept secret until an application is filed. If not, a foreign patent can never be obtained.

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