Companies that sell their products throughout the world are faced with a multitude of administrative and legal burdens in each marketplace. Unfortunately, it may be too late when a company discovers that the failure to satisfy seemingly minor administrative burdens in a country can result in tremendous losses of property rights and future profits.

For many of these companies–especially e-commerce and biotechnology companies–acquiring and maintaining patent protection for their products is essential. Patent protection is critical both to the profitability of their products and to their incentives to develop new products. In addition to the substantive legal requirements that determine whether or not an invention may be patented, patent holders must carefully follow the administrative requirements of each country. Among these is the requirement to pay annual maintenance fees to the various patent offices around the world in which the patents are registered.

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