To apply for a patent in as many countries as possible may be useful for a good invention. Unfortunately, this is also an expensive way, which is only worthwhile if the chances of obtaining a grant are good.
The chance to obtain a grant usually depends on the prior art available in the technical field. A personal search by the inventor can be the first step, but is rarely productive. Professional searches by a law firm or a search agent are very expensive, which makes them unattractive to smaller companies. An inexpensive way to get to know the state of the art before filing subsequent applications is the way via the German Patent and Trademark Office (GPTO). To obtain a search report as quickly as possible, the patent can first be filed at the GPTO. The GPTO offers a high-quality search and is also relatively inexpensive compared to the European Patent Office (EPO).
If the search report indicates that the chances of success are low, the patent claims may have to be amended. If the search report is positive, or if amended documents promise a grant, the next step is a subsequent application for a patent on an international scale, e.g. at the European Patent Office (EPO), in order to obtain a patent in the European member states. An application under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), which is comparatively expensive, can then also be considered. At present (June 2020), 153 states participate in the PCT. The PCT application can later be nationalized in each of these 153 states, i.e. continued as a national application.
When a subsequent application for a patent is filed with the EPO or the PCT, the so-called priority right can be claimed. A subsequent application with priority right is treated as if it had been filed on the date of the priority application.
This has two advantages:
Useful questions for applicants wondering where to file subsequent applications would be:
In this case it is accordingly beneficial to support the filing strategy with market analysis methods. Thus it can be guaranteed that the patent application will only be continued in relevant countries.
I am looking forward to discussing your individual and most suitable application strategy for your future patent. After an initial discussion you will have clarity about possible approaches - free of charge, independent of location and without any obligation.