Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
 

PCT facilitates patent protection for an invention simultaneously in a large number of countries.

What is a PCT application?

A PCT application (also known as an international application) may be filed when patent protection is required in several countries for the same invention. A PCT application does not result in the grant of a patent in any country, it simply secures a priority (filing) date, i.e., it reserves your right to file a patent application for the same invention in all the countries designated in the PCT application at a later stage.

It defers your filing in all the designated countries by another 18 months – giving you more time to evaluate the commercial demand for the invention and make a more informed decision regarding the countries in which you should obtain patent protection. It also enhances the chances of obtaining patents in various countries.

Filing procedure:

  • First a provisional/complete patent application must be filed in India.
  • The PCT filing procedure involves two phases – the international phase and the national phase.
  • International phase: The PCT application must be filed within 12 months of filing the first Indian patent application, designating the countries in which patents are required. An international search report and a written opinion on patentability (of an international searching authority) are established generally within 4 months of filing the PCT application. These reports assess the patentability of the invention, and help the applicant in deciding the feasibility of filing in various countries.
  • The PCT application and the reports are internationally published after 18 months of filing the first Indian patent application.
  • Two additional optional reports may also be requested by the applicant to further assess and enhance the chances of obtaining patents abroad:
    • A supplementary international search report, by another international searching authority.
    • An international preliminary examination report, by an international preliminary examining authority.
  • National phase: Patent applications in each of the designated countries must be filed within 30/31 months of filing the first Indian patent application. Patents will be granted by the national patent offices of each country after the applicant complies with their national requirements.
 

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