A decision about the countries in which protection will be sought outside the country of first filing is preferably taken shortly before expiry of the priority year of a first patent application. The cost of a possible foreign filing will as a result only be incurred a year after the first filing date. A not insignificant additional advantage of delaying the decision about foreign filing by almost a year is that at the moment the decision is taken extra information may be available, such as deeper technical insight, market information and the search report.