- What is the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)?
The PCT is an international treaty with 148 Contracting States concluded at Washington in 1970, and entered into force in 1974. It is one of the most important treaty for the international patent system to facilitate the procedures of filing patent. It is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The PCT procedure includes filing, international search, international publication, Supplementary International Search (optional), International Preliminary Examination (optional) and National Phase.
- What is the purpose of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)?
The PCT makes it possible to seek patent protection for an invention simultaneously in a large number of countries by filing a single “international” patent application in one language (One of the accredited language in the treaty) instead of filing several separate national or regional patent applications.
- Who has the right to file an international patent application under the PCT?
You are entitled to file an international patent application if you are a national or resident of a PCT Contracting State.
- What are the requirements of filing?
The application should be comply with all the formality requirements set by the treaty, see Regulations under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (Part B of Rule 3 to 13) on the following link:
- Where can I file my international patent application?
You can file an international patent application, in most cases, with your national patent Office, or directly with WIPO according to the choice of applicant.
- In what languages can an international patent application be filed?
You can file an international patent application in any language, which the receiving Office accepts. If you file your application in a language, which is not accepted by the ISA that is to carry out the international search, you will be required to furnish a translation of the application for the purposes of international search in one of the following languages Spanish, German, English, Russian, Chinese, French and Japanese.
- Is it possible to file a patent application electronically in accordance with the Treaty?
Yes, it is possible to file fully electronic PCT applications with any competent receiving Offices, which accepts such filings (national or regional), or using the WIPO web service (ePCT-filing). You are also entitled to certain PCT fee reductions when filing electronically. More details about PCT electronic filing can be found at
- What are the costs associated with the filing of an international application under the PCT?
PCT applicants generally pay three types of fees when they file their international applications:
(A) An international filing fee of 1,330 Swiss francs, (which is about 1,450 US Dollar depending on the exchange rate)
(B) A search fee which can vary from approximately 410 to 2,400 US Dollar depending on the ISA chosen, and
(C) A small transmittal fee, which varies depending on the receiving Office.
You can find more details about the treaty fees from the following Website:
The fees you will need to pay as you enter the national phase represent the most significant pre-grant costs. They can include fees for translations of your application, national (or regional) Office filing fees and fees for acquiring the services of local patent agents or attorneys. You should also remember that in the case of all granted patents, whether or not the PCT is used to obtain them, you will need to pay maintenance fees in each country in order to keep the patents alive.
- Who is entitled to grant the patent for the filed applications under PCT?
The granting of patents remains under the control of the national or regional patent Offices in what is called the “national phase”.
- How long does the PCT process take?
You have, in most cases, up to an additional 18 months from the time you file your international patent application (or usually 30 months from the filing date of the initial patent application of which you claim priority) before you have to begin the national phase procedures with individual patent Offices and to fulfill the national requirements. This additional time can be useful for evaluating the chances of obtaining patents and exploiting your invention commercially in the countries in which you plan to pursue patent protection, and for assessing both the technical value of your invention and the continued need for protection in those countries.
It is important to note, however, that you do not have to wait for the expiration of 30 months from the earliest filing date of your patent application (“priority date”) before you enter the national phase – you can always request an early entry into the national phase (see articles 23(2) and 40(2) of PCT)
Since, in the national phase, each patent Office is responsible for examining your application in accordance with national or regional patent laws, regulations and practices, the time required for the examination and grant of a patent varies across patent Offices.
- What are the phases that the application goes through according to the treaty?
- International Phase:
You file an international application, complying with the PCT formality requirements, in one language, and you pay one set of fees.
- International Search
an “International Searching Authority” (ISA) (one of the world’s major patent Offices) identifies the published patent documents and technical literature (“prior art”) which may have an influence on whether your invention is patentable, and establishes a written opinion on your invention’s potential patentability
- International Publication
As soon as possible after the expiration of 18 months from the earliest filing date, the content of your international application is disclosed to the world.
- Supplementary International Search (optional)
A second ISA identifies, at your request, published documents which may not have been found by the first ISA which carried out the main search because of the diversity of prior art in different languages and different technical fields.
- International Preliminary Examination (optional)
One of the ISAs at your request, carries out an additional patentability analysis, usually on an amended version of your application.
- National Phase:
After the end of the PCT procedure, usually at 30 months from the earliest filing date of your initial application, from which you claim priority, you start to pursue the grant of your patents directly before the national (or regional) patent Offices of the countries in which you want to obtain them.