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Blog | Applying for a patent – I want to apply for one globally | EP&C

Applying-for-a-patent-I-want-to-apply-for-one-globally.jpgYou have invented something big. You are going to conquer the world. People then often say that they want to patent their invention globally!

But is it wise to do so? 

1. No, it isn't. You're bound to go bankrupt if you do! 

Applying for a patent is one thing. However, you will need to apply for one for each individual country, or in the most favourable case, for each individual region.  So you will be charged for each of these applications.

It also costs money to maintain all these patents. Lots of money. That is because you will have to pay an annual renewal fee for each country. And the longer you maintain your patent, the higher the renewal fees get. Can you imagine what this is going to do to your budget? You will need to earn a lot of money for this to be viable for you.

2. No, you don't need to

We understand that you are enthusiastic about your invention, but just how much of a market do you think there is for an irrigation system in the UK? Or for a machine to produce savoury Dutch snacks in Indonesia?

My advice is always: register your patent rights in those countries in which you or your competitors operate. A client once told me: "The longer I talk to you, the shorter my list of countries gets."

There are a number of clever tricks that can help you make the right choice. You can ready all about these in my blog 'Register an idea: in which country? 3 Tips’.

3. No, it is impossible to enforce

What are you going to do if you have a patent in Botswana and someone infringes it? Take the matter to court? Or when Saudi Arabia's state oil company decides to use your innovation without your permission, are you going to write to the Sheik of the gulf state? It is useful to carefully consider the possible scenarios on their merits beforehand. 

The selection of countries is a strategic choice.

3 x no to the question as to whether you should protect your idea worldwide. That doesn't sound very optimistic. Or perhaps it does, because you can still properly protect your invention with less effort.

What I want to make clear to you is that in patent proceedings the choice of countries is a strategic one which you need to consider very carefully.  Your desire for worldwide protection is very understandable.

However, your chances of success improve quite considerably with limited, deliberately chosen geographic coverage of your Intellectual Property.