A first option is to file one or more national patent applications, usually through a local representative. This means that applications are filed with one or more national patent-granting authorities under the local patent law.
A second option is to file one or more regional patent applications. This means that a patent application is made for a number of countries simultaneously to one or more (supranational) organizations. The European patent application is an example of this.
A third option is a specific patent application for a number of countries (up to a maximum of more than 140 countries) simultaneously: the PCT application, also referred to as International Patent Application. This International Patent Application makes it possible to delay the decision to continue with the International Patent Application in desired countries for up to 30 months after the priority date. Combinations of the three options are also very common. In order to decide on the best strategy in a specific situation it is advisable to consult with a patent attorney.