A patent is a protective right granted for inventions. What is specifically regarded as an invention from a legal point of view depends on the applicable patent law in the respective country, where patent protection is sought.
Patent applications have to be filed with a national patent office and, as a rule, are examined as to whether the national requirements for the grant of protection are satisfied. Provided that the examination result is positive, the patent will be granted.
In order to obtain extensive patent protection, various filing strategies can be pursued, for instance the filing of a German patent application with subsequent applications in further countries, the filing of a European patent application to the effect that several European countries are covered right from the outset or the filing of a foreign patent application, for instance a US patent application with the “United States Patent and Trademark Office” (USPTO).
Against the background that the national requirements for the grant of protection vary from country to country, for instance with respect to software patents, i.e. patents granted for computer programs, it is recommendable to elaborate a suitable patent strategy prior to the filing the patent application in consideration of the costs to be expected.