In the age of globalization, where technology knows no borders, the decision to file international patents is more critical than ever. This is especially true for blockchain, a technology that inherently defies geographical limitations. However, international patenting is a complex and often expensive endeavor. This article aims to guide you through ten key considerations you should keep in mind when filing international blockchain patents.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Understanding the PCT Route
  3. Choosing Target Jurisdictions
  4. Cost-Benefit Analysis
  5. Legal and Regulatory Landscape
  6. Language and Translation
  7. Local Partnerships and Collaborations
  8. Managing Deadlines
  9. Intellectual Property Strategy
  10. Seeking Professional Help
  11. Conclusion


The Global Nature of Blockchain

Blockchain technology is inherently global. Whether it’s a cryptocurrency that’s used worldwide or a supply chain solution that tracks goods across continents, the applications of blockchain often transcend national boundaries.

Why International Patents?

Given this global reach, securing patent protection in multiple countries can provide a significant competitive advantage. It can deter infringement, attract foreign investment, and open doors to international markets.

Understanding the PCT Route

What is the PCT?

The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is an international treaty that allows inventors to seek patent protection in multiple countries through a single application. It currently has 153 contracting states, covering most of the world’s key markets.

Advantages of the PCT Route

Simplified Process

Instead of filing separate applications in each country, you can file a single PCT application. This simplifies the initial filing process and gives you more time to decide in which countries you ultimately want to seek protection.


While the PCT process itself incurs fees, it can be more cost-effective in the long run. It allows you to defer the bulk of the expenses until you decide to enter the national phase in your chosen countries.

Limitations of the PCT Route

Not Truly Global

While the PCT covers many countries, it doesn’t include all. Some markets, like Taiwan and much of the Middle East, are not PCT contracting states.

No Guarantee of Patent Grant

The PCT process facilitates the filing but does not guarantee that the patent will be granted in each country. National patent offices will conduct their own examinations based on local laws and regulations.

Choosing Target Jurisdictions

Market Potential

Assessing the Market

Before deciding where to file, conduct market research to identify countries with a high potential for your blockchain technology. Look at factors like market size, growth rate, and the competitive landscape.

Aligning with Business Strategy

Your choice of jurisdictions should align with your broader business strategy. If you’re eyeing partnerships or acquisitions in specific countries, securing patents there can be a strategic move.

Patent-Friendly Jurisdictions

Some countries have more robust patent systems and are more likely to grant blockchain-related patents. For instance, the United States and several European countries have a history of granting software and technology patents, making them favorable jurisdictions for blockchain innovations.

Enforcement Capabilities

Consider the ease of enforcing your patent rights in the chosen jurisdictions. Countries with strong legal systems and specialized intellectual property courts are generally more favorable.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

The Financial Commitment

Filing international patents is a significant financial commitment. Each jurisdiction you enter will have its own set of fees, including filing fees, examination fees, and maintenance fees, not to mention legal costs.

Conducting a Cost-Benefit Analysis

Quantifying Benefits

Estimate the potential revenue or strategic advantages you could gain from holding a patent in each target jurisdiction. This could include market share, licensing opportunities, or even strategic partnerships.

Calculating Costs

Compile a comprehensive list of all costs associated with filing and maintaining a patent in each jurisdiction. Don’t forget to include translation costs, legal fees, and potential costs of enforcement.

Making the Decision

Compare the estimated benefits against the projected costs to determine whether filing a patent in a particular jurisdiction makes financial sense. This exercise will help you prioritize countries where the potential return on investment is highest.

Understanding Local Laws

Each country has its own set of laws and regulations governing patents, and this is especially complex when it comes to technology like blockchain. Some countries may have restrictions or limitations on patenting software or cryptographic algorithms.

Regulatory Attitude Towards Blockchain

The regulatory environment for blockchain varies widely from country to country. Some nations are embracing blockchain with open arms, while others are more cautious or even hostile. Understanding this landscape can inform not only your patent strategy but also your broader business plans.

Navigating Complexities

Given the complexities of international patent laws and blockchain regulations, consulting with legal experts in each jurisdiction is advisable. They can provide insights into local nuances that you might not be aware of.

Regulatory Updates

Laws and regulations are not static; they evolve. Keep an eye on legal updates in your target jurisdictions, as changes in patent law or blockchain regulations can directly impact your patent’s validity or enforceability.

Language and Translation

The Importance of Language

Language barriers can be a significant hurdle in international patent filing. A poorly translated patent application can lead to misunderstandings, delays, or even rejections.

Professional Translation Services

Why Professional Services?

Given the technical and legal complexities of patent applications, professional translation services are almost always necessary. A mistranslation can lead to a narrower scope of protection or even jeopardize the entire application.

Choosing the Right Service

Look for translation services that specialize in legal and technical documents. If possible, choose translators who have experience with blockchain terminology to ensure accuracy.

Double-Checking Translations

Even when using professional services, always have the translated application reviewed by legal experts or consultants familiar with the local language and patent laws. This double-checking can catch any nuances or terms that may have been lost or misrepresented in translation.

Local Partnerships and Collaborations

The Value of Local Partners

Having a local partner can be invaluable when filing international patents. They can provide on-the-ground insights into the market, help navigate bureaucratic hurdles, and even assist in enforcing the patent once granted.

Types of Partnerships

Strategic Business Partners

These are companies or organizations that can benefit from your blockchain technology and may be interested in a long-term business relationship. Such partnerships can provide financial support and market access.

Local law firms with expertise in intellectual property can be crucial partners. They can guide you through the intricacies of the local patent system and help you avoid common pitfalls.

Due Diligence

Assessing Credibility

Before entering into any partnership, conduct thorough due diligence to assess the credibility and reliability of the potential partner. Look into their track record, financial stability, and reputation in the market.

Ensure that all partnerships are formalized through legally binding agreements. These should clearly outline the terms of the partnership, including roles, responsibilities, and revenue-sharing arrangements.

Managing Deadlines

The Time-Sensitive Nature of Patent Filing

Patent filing is a time-sensitive process, with strict deadlines that vary from one jurisdiction to another. Missing a deadline can result in the loss of your patent rights.

PCT Deadlines

If you’re going through the PCT route, you have 30 or 31 months (depending on the jurisdiction) from the priority date to enter the national phase in your chosen countries. Mark this deadline clearly in your calendar and set reminders.

National Deadlines

Each country has its own set of deadlines for various stages of the patent process, such as responding to Office Actions or paying maintenance fees. Keep a comprehensive list of these deadlines for each jurisdiction where you have filed.

Contingency Planning

Buffer Time

Always build in some buffer time to account for unforeseen delays, such as administrative issues or complications in document translation.

Appoint legal representatives in each jurisdiction who can act on your behalf if you’re unable to meet a deadline. Ensure they are fully briefed on your patent application and have the authority to make time-sensitive decisions.

Intellectual Property Strategy

Aligning with Business Goals

Your international patent filing strategy should be a component of your broader intellectual property (IP) strategy, which in turn should align with your overall business goals.

Portfolio Management


Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify your patent portfolio to include various aspects of your blockchain technology, as well as different types of IP like trademarks and copyrights.


Not all inventions are equally valuable or critical to your business. Prioritize patenting those that provide a strong competitive edge or have high commercialization potential.

Seeking Professional Help

The Complexity of International Patenting

The process of filing international patents is fraught with complexities that can be overwhelming for even the most seasoned entrepreneurs. From understanding local laws to managing deadlines and translations, the challenges are manifold.

When to Seek Professional Help

Initial Planning

Consult with IP professionals during the initial planning stage to help you decide which countries to target and whether to go through the PCT route or file directly in each country.

Drafting the Application

The initial patent application sets the stage for everything that follows. It’s crucial to get it right. Professional patent drafters can help ensure that your application is both comprehensive and compliant with international standards.

Legal experts can guide you through the maze of local laws, regulations, and procedures. They can also represent you in interactions with patent offices and even in legal disputes.

Choosing the Right Professionals

Specialization in Blockchain

Given the unique challenges associated with blockchain technology, it’s advisable to choose professionals who specialize in this area.

International Experience

Look for professionals who have experience with international patent filings. They’ll be familiar with the PCT process and the specific requirements of different jurisdictions.

Transparent Pricing

International patenting can be expensive, so it’s crucial to understand the cost structure upfront. Look for professionals who offer transparent pricing, and if possible, flat-rate packages for specific services.

We, at PatentPC have years of experience handling blockchain patents from the best in the industry. Feel free to contact us and we will guide you through the entire blockchain patenting process.


The Strategic Imperative

Filing international patents is not just a legal requirement but a strategic imperative for blockchain companies with global ambitions. The protection these patents offer can be a significant competitive advantage, opening doors to international markets and potential partnerships.

Key Takeaways

Be Strategic

From choosing jurisdictions to deciding on the PCT route, every decision should align with your broader business and IP strategy.

Be Prepared

The complexities of international patenting require thorough preparation. From conducting cost-benefit analyses to understanding local laws, being well-prepared can save you time, money, and potential legal headaches down the line.

Seek Expertise

The stakes are too high to go it alone. Whether it’s legal advice, professional translation, or strategic business partnerships, seeking external expertise can be invaluable.

Final Thoughts

In the fast-paced, ever-evolving world of blockchain technology, securing international patent protection can be a game-changer. It’s a complex, challenging, and often expensive journey, but for those who navigate it successfully, the rewards can be immense. As you embark on this journey, let these ten key considerations be your guide, helping you make informed decisions every step of the way.