Patent-Free Zone


Imagine Innovation Everywhere

Do you live or run a business outside the dark green areas on this map?

Patent Free Zone Map


Congratulations-- you're in a Patent Free Zone, where ideas are freely available to use.  It's a place of great opportunity, challenge, and need. Explore how entrepreneurs, investors, and governments can bring innovation and inspiration – and positive commercial impact – to a world that's hungry for change.

What is the Patent Free Zone?

Looking at the map, you can see where the Patent Free Zone is – it's most of the world, except for the US, Canada, and Western Europe. In the Patent Free Zone, there are few patents, which means that US-patented technology (almost everyone files patents there) can be used for free.  There is not a single international patent – each invention must be filed in individual countries (or regional groups) in order to have exclusive patent rights there.  So when companies choose not to file in any specific country, they dedicate those inventions to the public there.  That creates a Patent Free Zone.

Patents are a little like fences or walls. They change how people move and use space. In a fenced-in landscape, people move along a limited number of paths, and private spaces are walled off. It feels like this:

That doesn't mean that fences (or patents) are bad. They regulate how we live our lives, and that's important. They help us protect what's ours, and help us share what we have in common. But not all places have patents (or fences). In wide open spaces, you're free to move through the landscape, with few restrictions.

Big Sky

Nothing is walled off, so there are paths everywhere, but few private spaces. Patent Free Zones are a little like that. There are no private, walled-off ideas: they're free for everyone to share and use. It's a place of great opportunity, need, and challenge. Welcome to a wide-open country.