In which countries should I register my patent?

At the end of the PCT patent phase, you need to make the tough decision regarding which countries in which to file your patent. This is the expensive leg of the patenting process.

As a general rule: choose countries of sale over countries of manufacture. However, this tip does little to narrow down the options. Next, we suggest having regard to:

  • your return on investment based on GDP;
  • your return on investment based on population;
  • the most popular patenting countries; and
  • the countries showing the greatest growth in patent filings.

Choosing countries based on GDP

GDP is a reflection of a country’s economic strength – the higher the number, the more value the country produces. The following table lists countries’ GDP accessed for each Dollar in anticipated patent spend (from filing to grant):

Country GDP / $ Patent Cost
India $322,393
China $241,888
South Africa $213,377
Nigeria $135,086
US $57 327
Brazil $36,994
Russia $33,480
OAPI (17 States) $31,059
Mexico $26,152
Japan $20,514
Canada $7,863
Australia $4,384
Chile $2,600
New Zealand $1,131
ARIPO (18 States) $46

To get the most GDP for your patent spend, file national phase patents in India, China and South Africa.

Choosing countries based on population

The following table lists countries’ population accessed for each Dollar in patent spend:

Country Population / $ Patent Cost
US 3,402
China 2,054
South Africa 1,299
Japan 786
India 622
Brazil 361
Russia 355
Canada 352
Nigeria 260
Australia 244
Mexico 230
ARIPO (18 States) 53
New Zealand 48
Chile 40

To get the greatest access to numbers of people for your patent spend, file national phase patents in the US, China and South Africa.

Choosing countries based on popularity

The following table lists the number of PCT national phase patents filed in 2016:

Country PCT national phase patent applications
US 146,867
EPO 94,625
China 81,055
Japan 59,893
Republic of Korea 37.093
Canada 27,021
India 25,896
Brazil 19,857
Australia 19,375
Mexico 12,884
Russian Federation 11,638
Singapore 7,040
South Africa 6,465
Germany 6,325
Thailand 5,973
Israel 5,430
Malaysia 5,178
Vietnam 4,072
New Zealand 3,826
Philippines 2,849

Growth in PCT national phase patent filings

In 2016, only three countries showed a growth in PCT national phase patent filings:

Country Growth in National Phase Patent Filings
US 6.9%
South Africa 5.7%
Vietnam 3.5%

Ease of grant

The Brazilian and Indian patent processes are extraordinarily cumbersome, lengthy and expensive. We generally do not favour extending PCT patents to these countries.

In contrast, South African and Nigeria offer the simplest patent process – currently, these countries do not conduct substantive examination. And, South African patents are typically granted within 12 months.

South Africa is also the cheapest country worldwide to file a patent. The total cost to file through us is $585. Alternatively, file a South African national phase patent application electronically for only $399.

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