Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property)

Q: Hi, can item patented in the USA be sold elsewhere else with slightly different design?

Am able to do it or what do I need to do to sell it legally? Thank you!

2 Lawyer Answers
Kevin E. Flynn
Kevin E. Flynn
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Chapel Hill, NC

A: A United States Patent applies to the United States. (make, use, sell, offer to sell)

A United States Patent applies to actions in the United States. So making a product in China and importing to the US would be covered. Also making a product in the US and exporting to Canada would be covered.

However, a product made in China could be sold into Canada as long as it does not pass through the US on the way to Canada.

Many companies seek patents in other countries that match the patent that they have in their home country. So it is possible that there are similar patents on this product in other countries. You can sometimes find related patents by looking for details on patent families in a system like Patentscope at WIPO. But this is not foolproof as there may have been parallel filings which might not show up as family members. Best bet is to ask a patent attorney in the country of interest to see if there is an analogous patent. The patent attorney can look by title, inventor, assignee, and use other tricks.

If you found this answer helpful, you may want to look at my answers to other questions about patent law are available at the bottom of my profile page at

https://lawyers.justia.com/lawyer/kevin-e-flynn-880338

Kevin E Flynn

Timothy John Billick agrees with this answer

Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Seattle, WA

A: U.S. Patent rights only extend within the U.S. boundaries. But in some limited circumstances, foreign sales of a US-patented product *can* be subject to a claim for damages if they have a substantial impact on U.S. commerce. So if your product will have little-to-no impact on U.S. commerce, your risk of running afoul of U.S. patent law is low. But this is a highly fact-intensive inquiry so please consult with a U.S. patent attorney before you proceed.

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