PCT A Quick Overview of the Patent Cooperation Treaty

PCT is an acronym for the Patent Cooperation Treaty, an international patent policy contracting over 150 countries. Whether you are a business or an individual, PCT allows you to seek patent protection for your invention in multiple countries simultaneously.

The Patent Cooperation Treaty serves all countries that are participants of the 1883’s Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. The PCT concluded back in 1970 and has been amended twice since then, i.e., 1984 and 2001.

The PCT is essential for patent law as you can seek an international patent for your invention or creation. You do not have to worry about filing several applications to separate regional or national patent offices. Instead, you only submit one international patent application.

 However, the authority to grant a patent stays with the national or regional patent office, also known as the “national phase.”

Types of Intellectual Property Protection

There are three types of intellectual property protection for a specific type of invention. There are:

  • Trademarks – you can get these for business, such as for logos, symbols and short phrases.
  • Copyrights – You can obtain a copyright for your original authorship work, such as dramatic writing and literary content.
  • Patents – if you are an inventor of a new product or process (that redefines how to do something), you can get a patent for it, so no one else can copy or use it without your permission.

It is a cliché, but the world we live in is a global economy with multiple intellectual property legislation stretching across many countries. This can work in your favor by protecting intellectual property ownership in countries, including your home country.

The PCT Procedure

The process for the Patent Cooperation Treat starts with you filing an international patent application. The PCT assembly then appoints one of the major international authorities to start international research on your claim.

The international authorities compile an international research report. This report contains citations and information from published documents, either supporting or denying your invention’s eligibility for an international patent.

Additionally, the appointed International Authorities also produce a written report, i.e., an opinion on whether or not your invention is patentable at all.

Once you receive the ISA’s written opinion and international report, you can either proceed with your application or withdraw it.

In case you decide to pursue the patent, your application and the ISA published the International report. However, the written opinion is solely for your benefit as an applicant.

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Advantages of PCT Procedures

The procedure set in place by the PTC offers several benefits to the patent offices, the general public and, most importantly, the inventors.

ISA’s written report and international search report accompany your international patent application and make it easier for patent offices. The application with reports’ findings virtually eliminates their work involved in research and examination of your patent application.

Moreover, the ISA publishes the international search report with your international application. It allows third parties to formulate an opinion on whether or not the invention is patentable.

The Timeline

After receiving your ISA report and written opinion, it is up to you as an application whether to seek patent protection in foreign regions and countries. You have up to 18 months after receiving your reports, and you must take all necessary steps to seek an international patent protect including:

  • Appointing a local patent agent
  • Paying national fees
  • Making translations (if needed)

Always remember, when you make an application with the PCT, the designated office cannot reject it on any formal grounds during the national phase.

Seeking Experts Opinion

In case you are an entity or an inventor considering applying with PCT, it would help you seek a professional opinion from a patent expert in your area. If you are looking for help with professional patent translation services, Circle Translations can help you with that in multiple languages from all over the world.