International Patent Application (PCT)

PCT International Patent Application

The Patent Cooperation Treaty (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. There are over 150+ members of the PCT, including the majority of the industrialized nations. The PCT was signed in The Washington Diplomatic Conference held in Jun 1970, and the first international applications were filed in Jun 1978.

The PCT application procedure consists of the international phase followed by the national and regional phase. The applicant can first file the PCT international application at a Receiving Office (RO). An International Searching Authority (ISA) is responsible for the background search related to the applicant’s claims.

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

The applicant or one of the applicants must be a national or resident of a contracting state to the treaty. Although the PCT international application does not confer patent rights to the applicant, a benefit of using the international application route is that it can delay the national or regional processes, thus giving applicants more time to obtain funds and identify markets.



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