Where to Seek Patent Protection: A Lesson from The Great One

“A good hockey player plays where the puck is.  A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”
Wayne Gretzky


To the best of my knowledge, Wayne Gretzky (aka “The Great One”) wasn’t a patent attorney, but his famous quote is certainly worth bearing in mind when it comes to your global patent protection strategy.

Working out where you should seek patent protection is never easy and involves assessing a multitude of factors:

  • Key international sales markets
  • Manufacturing and supply-chain strategies
  • Competitor analysis
  • Comparing different legal and political systems
  • Out-licensing and distribution opportunities

All of which often occur against a backdrop of looming filing deadlines and competing budget priorities.

In such circumstances, it’s easy – perhaps a little too easy – to take the safe option and simply select those countries in which you actually do business today.  In doing so you are ignoring those countries where you should be doing business tomorrow.

Are you playing where the puck is, or where it’s going to be?

Of course none of us has a crystal ball and decisions with a twenty-year time horizon are especially tricky.  In your favour is the proliferation of information and services now available that make the process of assessing, selecting and filing applications into new jurisdictions nowhere near the challenge it used to be.

Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico and Turkey are just four examples of emerging market countries that are often forgotten when it comes to global patent filing.  Each are top 20 global economies with demographic and macro-economic qualities that make them a must-have, or at least worthy of consideration, in the global patent protection strategies of all IP professionals.

So take time out to consider whether your foreign filing approach needs a refresh… with a little planning and a little initiative, monopoly patent rights for your widget in the next global super-economy are within reach!


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