What is Patent Cooperation Treaty?

An International Patenting System

What is Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)?

PCT is an international pact that creates an easier pathway to file single patent application instead of filing the application at multiple national and regional levels. PCT is applicable on applications from 153 contracting states.

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) provides Search Service featuring full-text search of internationally published patent applications as well as a list of international patent databases.

The Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP) of WIPO develops balanced international frameworks for patent rules. The committee members discuss on diverse issues and evolving needs to enforce the patent laws.

Cost of International Patent

The estimated value for an international patent for around 200 countries would be one million dollars for filing and a million dollar for maintenance of the patent for the full term.

Time period for International patent

The term for an internationally granted patent is 20 years and in some cases 14 years. Patent renewal can be done by paying the lapsed fees. But if it has crossed the stipulated time limit then it cannot be renewed. You can only own the product, its information and the materials required.

How to file for international patenting?

Basically, the following procedures are carried out in PCT:

  • The International Patent Application is filed in the patent office called the Receiving office (RO). The PCT application should be filed in only one language, further it will be translated as per requirement in international search and publication. After filing all contacting states are automatically deputed.
Search and written opinion
  • The International Searching Authority (ISA) which is an authorized body finds the most relevant patent search in the given context and this search result is called International Search Result. Choosing an ISA depends on the receiving office of an applicant. The International Search Report must be written within three months from receipt of search copy or nine months from the priority dates. The written opinion is available in the form of an international preliminary report on patentability within thirty months of the filing date or priority date.
  • The PCT application is published at WIPO in one of the ten permitted languages. The publication normally takes place after eighteen months of filing date.
Optional examination
  • The International preliminary examination authority (IPEA) optionally conducts preliminary examinations on request. The objective is to map out introductory and unbiased opinion about the novelty of the invention and their inventive steps.
Substantive conditions of patentability
  • The International searching and preliminary examination do not question patentability of the invention. These regulations are intended to be interpreted as something that limits the contracting states from formulating their own substantive conditions of patentability.
National and regional phases
  • At the end of thirty months of filing period, the PCT application is claimed and the international phase ends. Now the PCT application enters the National and Regional phase where the time period is limited. If the application fails to enter the National and Regional phase within the stipulated time period, it loses the rights at subordinate levels.

Advantages of PCT

Patent Cooperation Treaty gives the following advantages:

  • Filing a single patent application replaces the need for filing multiple applications.
  • International search helps applicants to get an idea to decide in which they can further chase their applications. So as to manage the patent portfolios and avoid unnecessary expenses.
  • It allows the delay in national processing.


PCT has an abundance of information that is yet to be explored. This article renders you a furnished outlook of the vast pool of processes, steps that are included in the international patent system to get patented.

Categories: Patent, Advantage Tags: #services, #trends

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Patent research analyst and strategist. Provides key analytical support to inventors, scientists, developers, designers, creators and/or R & D organization for protection of innovations and commercialization of technologies, enforcing patent rights and advising on complex techno-legal matters.

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