International Patent Application (PCT)

International Patents

The patent cooperation treaty (PCT) enables applicants to file for patent protection in multiple countries with one application, called the international patent application or PCT application. There are 153 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 file for protection at a Receiving Office (RO). The national or regional patent offices are responsible for granting the patent. An International Searching Authority (ISA) is responsible for the background search related to the objects that require protection according to the applicant. It is important to note here that 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. 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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