If my patent is published in U.K. how much time do I have to file the same patent in other countries? Why would it be a race to file in other countries anyway?
How much time do I have to file the same patent in other countries? You have exactly one year from the date of first filing (provisional or non-provisional) for exercising option for filing in other countries. (Called Paris Convention Route).
You can file at Receiving Office (RO) of WIPO (co-located at patent office of your country) within this period of one year and get additional eighteen months i.e. total two and half years (30 months) from the date of first filing for filing in other countries (entering national phase). (Called PCT Route).
If you intend to file in limited number of countries, than it is better to file directly in those countries within the said permissible time limit of one year. This will save some money.
Based on experience, it is suggested, first assess your affordability and act accordingly.
Why would it be a race ? If your intention is why one should file in different countries than the answer is patent rights are limited to geographical limits of granting country. One is expected to assess interests and select countries to file application to have best protection.
If your intention is why the time limit than answer is all PCT (Patent Convention Treaty) member countries follow this rule of filing within one year without exception because this was formulated by consensus of the member countries.