International Patent Application (PCT)

PCT International Patent Application


Securing patent protection can be a crucial step for inventors and businesses looking to safeguard their innovations. While applying for a patent in a single country can be relatively straightforward, protecting an invention worldwide is more complex. This is where the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is useful. The PCT offers a streamlined process for seeking patent protection in multiple countries. The PCT enables applicants to postpone filing for patent protection in multiple countries by first filing a single application, called the international patent application or PCT application. Over 150+ countries participate in the PCT, including the majority of the developed countries.

The PCT application procedure consists of the international phase followed by the national and regional phase. The applicant first submits the PCT international application to a Receiving Office, which is often the applicant’s home country. The applicant (or one of the applicants) must be a national or resident of a contracting state to the treaty. An International Searching Authority (ISA) then conducts a prior art search related to the applicant’s claims.

Afterward, the applicant will need to file their PCT international phase application into each country in which they wish to obtain patent rights. The national patent offices are responsible for granting the patent in their respective jurisdictions. It is important to note that in order to obtain patent rights in a specific jurisdiction, the national phase of the patent application process must be filed in that specific jurisdiction after submitting an international application.

For example, a US applicant can first file their US patent application at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and also file the PCT international phase with the USPTO as the Receiving Office. Later on, if the applicant decides to expand to the European Union (EU), the applicant will need to proceed with the PCT national phase at the European Patent Office (EPO).



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