The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is an international treaty that regulates about the procedure of filing patent application in many countries in the world. The Treaty was signed on 19 June 1970 during the Washington Diplomatic Conference on the Patent Cooperation Treaty. It is administered by the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), whose headquarters are in Geneva (Switzerland).
The PCT offers individuals/organization opportunity to seek patent protection for an invention simultaneously in a large number of countries by filing a single “international” patent application instead of filing several separate national or regional patent applications. The granting of patents remains under the control of the national or regional patent Offices in what is called the “national phase”.
Basically, the PCT does not exclude the necessity of prosecuting the international application in the national phase of processing before the national or regional Offices, but it shall help applicant carry out several important procedures during the international phase of processing.
These procedures are the formalities examination, the international search and the optional supplementary international search(es) and the likewise optional international preliminary examination. Besides, the automatic deferral of national processing can be entailed, which gives the applicant more time and a better basis for deciding whether and in which countries to further pursue the application.
At the present time, the PCT is having 152 member states, which includes developed countries such as the United States, China, Japan, India…. All these member states constitute the International Patent Cooperation Union.
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