The national patent application

If you only want to protect an invention in a few countries, applying directly to the relevant national IP offices is usually cheaper.


Protection in Switzerland

You can find an overview of the Swiss patent application and granting procedure under patent basics.
The procedure in detail is presented under the section application and examination.


Protection in several countries

For multi-national protection, you need to submit a patent application with the same technical content to every country. The date of the first application is considered the priority date. The additional applications must be submitted within the following 12 months. The priority date is then considered as the reference date for the state of the art (also known as the prior art) for all applications of this patent family.

Legal frameworks, application requirements as well as examination and granting procedures vary from country to country. It is therefore best to obtain the necessary documentation directly from the relevant IP offices. You can find an overview of the IP offices of all member states of the European Patent Organisation on its website. If required, we can also provide you with their addresses.


The advantages of individual national applications

  • For protection in only a few countries, national applications are generally low-cost and the least time-consuming.
  • In Switzerland, you can assess the novelty and inventive step of an invention with an inexpensive Swiss Patent Application Search. You can receive the search results within the priority year and make a timely decision on protecting in other countries.
  • With a national patent application, you guarantee the priority date. You can use the priority year to refine your prototype, demonstrate its technical feasibility or to search for investors. Until the end of the priority year, you can submit more national applications or an international patent application.
  • If something important is missing from the application and you have to resubmit it, doesn’t cost too much.
  • You can submit a Swiss patent application in Italian in Italy and vice versa. Italian isn't an official language in the international patent application procedure.

The disadvantages of individual national applications

  • Running national applicant and grant procedures parallel to one another can be time-consuming. Differing languages, special national procedural provisions, and varying fees and deadlines often require professional support. You must pay renewal fees on time, and sometimes without being reminded to do so.
  • You must be ready to decide within 12 months which countries you want to obtain patent protection in.