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Allow me to directly go to the scenario and take real case as an example:

In the field of music-simulation game, there were many cases of patent conflicts. To name the few, Konami v Rock Band game, Konami v EZ2DJ, etc, some of those happened in US. And Konami v Pentavision which happened in Korea.

Let say, if I'm going to make a drumming game, maybe into arcade game cabinet, this would clearly violates MTV Drumscape or Konami's patents in affected countries. But what if I do this in unrelated country to those companies, let's say, Laos or Thailand, which those companies does not have branch offices in. And let's say :

  • I setup the program inside cabinet legally (the game might developed by my team)
  • I obtained the song's license correctly. etc. No other issue for local law.
  • Distribute the game nationwide.

My question is:

  1. Can those companies sue me over this game cabinet? By any mean.
  2. Can those companies file their existing US patent in those countries and then sue me after?
  3. Will patents those big companies are holding expire and become public domain? If so, does that's mean I can then distribute this game into US?
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Patent rights are absolutely territorial in nature, as the patent is granted by the state (i.e country where filed) therefore patents are only enforceable in the country where they are granted.

As per my knowledge, if a patent is granted in USA and no such patent is granted or patent application has been made in australia, UK, mexico etc. , then US patent is unenforceable in those countries. The patentee has no rights to sue you in those countries. Keep in mind that, if an application for patent has already been made in those countries before your launch but no patent is yet granted, you'll be liable for infringement in those countries.

If an application for patent is not made in other countries but it is made after your launch in that country, you won't be liable until unless that application is made within one year from the original application for patent in the country where such application was made first.

Once a patent falls into public domain, you are free to commercialize its contents but normally inventions have multiple patents, so you have to see that you don't infringe on any other patent because a product can have multiple patents and expiry of any one patent doesn't put the entire product's technology into public domain. It only puts the content of expired patent in the public domain.

I hope this would have given you some basic idea of patents.

  • Thank you! This does give me the overview of the system, I will mark your answer accepted soon if there is no better alternative. – Wappenull Aug 9 '16 at 3:28
  • I always believe in searching, try searching espacenet or if you are good in german depatisnet. According to me these two databases are best which are freely available for searching patents, you can conduct country specific search too , for that visit that country's patent & trademark office website, then find the link for searching patents and patent applications. This will help, even though not conclusively, in finding your competitor's patents/patent applications in that country. Or you can find professionals in those country to conduct a "freedom to operate" searches. – lawsome Aug 9 '16 at 7:29
  • Yep, I believe do basic search on each country's database or if I want to do this for real, contacting local layer is the way to go. I have done some research but was very basic one, the article above was just a pure idea what-if situation, no worry! – Wappenull Aug 10 '16 at 0:02

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