The initial filing of a patent application in Switzerland, in Europe, according to the PCT or without payment of fees can be extended within a 12 months ’ deadline resp. within 30 months for a PCT application to other countries. It is thus possible to initially file an application in one ’s own country and postpone extensions abroad. The extension of the protection abroad will also enjoy the filing date of the initial application, i.e. these later applications will be deemed to have been filed on the same day as the first resp. prior application.
P&TS has a strong network of correspondents in approximately 65 countries and is thus in a position to effect filings quickly in practically all industrialized countries. In order to limit the costs of obtaining protection, it is however necessary to select those in which the invention is to be protected and to assess the cost against the commercial value of the monopoly position in the various markets; this must be a business decision and before incurring such costs, one must be fairly sure that that the product will generate a return, taking into account also the expenditure for developing the product.
Two basic options are open:
1) Protection in consuming states For many products, a monopoly in the principal economical regions (Europe, USA, Japan, etc.) will give the owner such a commercial advantage that a competitor will be dissuaded from producing a copy that can be commercialized only in the remaining countries.
2) Protection in producing states Many technologies are exploited only in a limited number of countries, for reasons of geography (mining industry) or culture (mechanical watches). It is thus sufficient to obtain a monopoly in these countries to avoid infringement worldwide .
In practice, mixed strategies are often chosen, i.e. with a protection in the principal consuming countries and in the main producing countries, in particular to avoid problems of illegal imports from third countries.