Protecting an invention internationally

Is a patent application filed in Monaco valid internationally? No, the rights granted by a national patent application are restricted to the Principality of Monaco. It is therefore important to file applications in each country where you intend to market or make your invention.


A valid national patent application only grants you rights in the Principality, but not in neighbouring states or any other countries around the world. If you have not obtained protection for your invention in a particular country, anyone in that country will be free to use it, even if you are protected elsewhere.


A business or inventor must therefore file a patent in each country in which they want their invention to be protected.


Timeline for “extending” a patent overseas

The right of priority –  The right of priority is enshrined by the Paris Convention of 1883, to which most countries of the world are Contracting States. It gives inventors extra time to file patents (and lay out the associated investment) overseas, while continuing to benefit from the date of a first regular filing in their country of origin.

This is a temporary right, which must be exercised within a maximum of 12 months from the date of the first filing in the country of origin (sometimes referred to as the “original application”).

This same right grants immunity for documents published between the filing date in the country of origin and the filing date in the new country.


Ultimate Deadline: publication of the first patent application - No overseas filing for the same invention will be valid, once the first patent has been filed (which is systematically the case 18 months after the first filing) or once the invention has been disclosed, even where disclosed by the inventor himself or by his employer.


There is no international patent. However, there is an international filing procedure which, under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), allows an applicant to file a single application which will take effect in any countries designated during the procedure.


Any Monegasque national or resident may file an international patent application with the World Intellectual Property Organization or the EPO.

In the application, all of the Contracting States will be automatically designated.

When entering the national phase of the procedure, the applicant will always have the option of either maintaining the general protection, or designating only certain chosen Contracting States.


Stages of the procedure

Each international application gives rise to an international prior art search and a document known as an “Extended International Search Report”, which combines the standard international research report and a preliminary written opinion looking at whether the invention meets patentability criteria (novelty, inventive step and possibility of industrial application).

As in the standard procedure, this report will be published, with the exception of the written opinion which will be notified only to the applicant.


It is also possible to request a preliminary international examination based on the international search report according to patentability criteria (novelty, inventive step and possibility of industrial application).


The results of these reports will allow the applicant to decide whether to start the procedure with the various national or regional (EPO) offices.

In each country where the national phase of the procedure has been activated (usually within 30 months following the date of priority), the patent will have national patent status, as long as the annuities continue to be paid.


To obtain the forms for a filing under the PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) or for any other information, visit the WIPO website.