Failure to consider international markets

Inventors typically envision exploiting their invention domestically. If the invention becomes a success, they begin exploiting it internationally. However, if they limit patent protection to their home country, it may later be impossible to protect the invention in foreign markets.

Therefore, individuals should do research on all potential markets where they plan to exploit the invention and seek patent protection in each of them. Currently, many nations are cooperating to make it easier for individuals to secure patent protection regardless of an inventor’s national residence. For example, inventors have the option to file an international application (“PCT”) to file the patent application in multiple nations with a single application.

A famous example of this was when Ericsson, a well-known Swedish phone company, incorporated in the same year Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. Ericsson began as a repair shop and repaired many electronic devices including Bell’s telephone. After repairing a few telephones, Ericsson began manufacturing telephones itself. Years later, Ericsson was able to sell its own telephones to the Swedish public without restriction because Bell had failed to patent his invention in Sweden. Soon, Ericsson began competing with Bell in the international marketplace for the device. The rest is history.