International Trade: Federal Action Needed to Help Small Businesses Address Foreign Patent Challenges

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A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Small and start-up businesses are principal sources of innovation and are vital to U.S. economic growth. Statistics show that small business created more than 5.5 million new jobs in the United States during the 1990s. In the current global economy, protecting innovations in the United States and abroad is an important component of small businesses' ability to develop overseas markets. The cost of obtaining, maintaining, and enforcing foreign patents is the most significant foreign patent impediment that small businesses encounter. GAO found that obtaining patents abroad ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. July 17, 2002.

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Description

A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Small and start-up businesses are principal sources of innovation and are vital to U.S. economic growth. Statistics show that small business created more than 5.5 million new jobs in the United States during the 1990s. In the current global economy, protecting innovations in the United States and abroad is an important component of small businesses' ability to develop overseas markets. The cost of obtaining, maintaining, and enforcing foreign patents is the most significant foreign patent impediment that small businesses encounter. GAO found that obtaining patents abroad is costly for several reasons: (1) companies typically seek patents in several other countries simultaneously and incur costs in each location, (2) some foreign patent office fees are substantially higher than corresponding U.S. Patent and Trademark Office fees, and (3) foreign patent laws and requirements are complex and difficult to understand causing companies to incur substantial U.S. and foreign legal fees. The businesses GAO surveyed said that the impediments they encounter have discouraged or prevented them from obtaining as much foreign patent protection as they would like. Large businesses are better equipped to deal with foreign patent impediments because they have more financial resources and foreign patent expertise and are better able to enforce their patents abroad. The small businesses and patent attorneys thought that certain federal actions could help small businesses overcome the impediments they face in seeking foreign patent protection."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • July 17, 2002

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  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. International Trade: Federal Action Needed to Help Small Businesses Address Foreign Patent Challenges, report, July 17, 2002; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc292597/: accessed October 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.