Part II: Where to enter national phase?
Where are the applicant’s competitors operating? Particularly in high-tech and fast-moving fields, markets are far from established, and you may not yet be competing directly with your competitors in some markets. Don’t wait until you’re both there slugging it out to consider extending patent protection into that jurisdiction.
Also, it may pay you to consider covering at least some of your competitor’s more important markets to give yourself some leverage. For example, one of our clients’ major competitors is based in Austria, and has a particularly strong market presence in that country. They consider Austria a special case because of this. For less important inventions that might not be worth the cost of a European application, they file in Austria anyway to give them extra leverage in this market where their competitor is particularly strong. It’s a nice ace to have up your sleeve if you one day find yourself negotiating a cross-licence with that competitor!
Think about the countries where your competitors are (and are operating) and determine whether there is long-term advantage in giving yourself some leverage there, even if you aren’t considering taking them on there yet.