What to Know About the Patent Cooperation Treaty

As globalization continues to permeate every aspect of different commercial activities, the international patent community has sought ways to streamline different procedures across the globe. One way this has taken hold is through the Patent Cooperation Treaty, which aims to provide one process to facilitate protection of intellectual property among the contracting nations. The total number of nations that have signed on is about 150, including the vast majority of industrialized nations. 

How To File a PCT Application

To begin, you need to file your PCT international patent application with the receiving office in your country. For instance, the U.S. Patent Office serves as the receiving office for U.S. residents and certain foreign nationals. The International Bureau of WIPO in Geneva may also serve as a receiving office for residents of any contracting nation. 

After your PCT application has been filed and accepted, an international search for relevant prior art is initiated. This search results in an opinion regarding the patentability of the subject matter. After a certain period of time has passed, the content of your PCT application will be published. There are optional searches and analyses you may request after your initial application.

National Phase

What an international application does not do is secure actual patents in PCT countries; it is a placeholder, preserving your right to internationally file your patent application in each designated nation or region, starting the process for procuring a patent in desired jurisdictions. Your PCT application will need to, eventually, mature into a patent filing in the individual countries and regions through a process called “entering the national phase”. Because individual nations issue patents, you must seek protection in individual nations or regions in which you want to patent protection. 

What Is the Ultimate Benefit of the PCT?

One attractive aspect of PCT applications is the relatively low upfront cost for preserving international filing rights, as opposed to immediately filing in various countries or regions. Another benefit is that it gives applicants some time to decide where exactly it would be optimal to apply for patents. 

Should You Pursue an International PCT Application?

For many small to mid-sized businesses, and especially startups, the process of filing a PCT application may appear daunting and ultimately discouraging. Speaking with a knowledgeable and experienced intellectual property lawyer will help you navigate this somewhat complex process and ultimately achieve your goals. Attorney Jim Cartiglia is well-equipped for prosecuting and securing patents for a wide variety of clients in a variety of locations across the globe. Please call OspreyIP today at 615-523-9955 to discuss your options.

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OspreyIP, PLLC

Based in Brentwood, Tennessee, OspreyIP is a law firm that operates internationally to help clients file and prosecute patent applications, secure trademark registrations, and take steps to protect their intellectual property.

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