The PCT in ten questions


PCT Ευρεσιτεχνίες ευρεσιτεχνία patents Patent

What is PCT?

The PCT is an international Patent Cooperation Treaty. The treaty has been signed by 148 states and is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The PCT allows inventors to seek patent protection for their invention simultaneously in each of the 148 members with one "international" application, instead of filing separate applications at the national or regional level.

The PCT in ten questions

 So with one application I will get an international diploma?

No, it's not exactly like that. With the PCT, separate procedures (with all the time, money, etc. involved) for the application in each state that the inventor is interested in protecting his invention are avoided. The granting and granting of patents remains under the control of national or regional patent offices, in what is called the “national phase”.

 And what are the steps for the PCT process?

Briefly the process includes the stages of filing, international research, international publication and the national phase. Before the national phase there are also two optional stages, those of the supplementary international investigation and the international preliminary examination. First, the application is submitted and a set of fees are paid. This is followed by the identification, by one of the world's major patent offices, of the published documents that will form the basis for examining the relevance of the invention to the prior art and drafting an opinion on the patentability of the invention. This is followed by the international publication stage, where shortly after 18 months the content of the international application is disclosed to the public,

Can everyone apply under the PCT?

All natural or legal persons who are nationals or residents of one of the contracting states have the right to make a deposit under the PCT. If there is more than one applicant, then it is enough for only one of them to meet the specific condition for the application to be accepted. Now if you are a citizen and permanent resident of the Cayman Islands who for some reason are reading us, then we are sorry but you do not have the ability to make such a deposit.

How much does the PCT procedure cost?

For a European citizen the cost of filing is €1100, the cost of the international search by the European Office is €1875 and there is a small transmission fee of €115. The cost would be different for an American or an African citizen because it depends greatly on the national or regional office conducting the international search. Obviously the profit for the applicant is very high, as the corresponding cost of preparing separate national applications for all the states he wants to protect his invention would be much higher.

And how long will the PCT process take? 

The PCT process usually takes up to 18 months from the international patent application (or to put it another way, up to 30 months from the filing date of the original national application). In practice this means that the inventor gains up to 18 additional months before starting to pursue the granting of national protection titles. This time can prove valuable as it allows the inventor to more comfortably explore commercial interest in his invention and determine which countries he would like to proceed with entering the PCT application in their national phase.

What is "international research"?

PCT International Search is a high-quality search of technical literature, technical documents and invention-related patents in some of the major languages ​​(English, Chinese, German, Japanese, French, Korean, Spanish, Russian). There are standards and guidelines in the PCT that are followed by all (National or Regional) Offices that conduct respective investigations and determine the quality and manner of conducting the investigation in order to ensure its outcome. At the end of the procedure, a Research Report and a written opinion of the examining authority are drawn up, which are sent to the applicant and inform him of the patentability of his invention.

Ok. And what is "supplementary international research" then?

This specific investigation is an optional procedure, which is done only at the request of the depositor and in essence is a repetition of the international investigation, but by a different investigating authority. In the same way he investigates the technical literature and prepares a detailed Research Report that includes only documents that were not cited in the main international research. In fact, in some cases it may include more detailed explanations than the main research. This is due to the fact that the supplementary international investigation is not accompanied by a written opinion of the examining authority and therefore must be more understandable with the clearer reference of all the necessary elements. Its value is particular to the inventor,

 And how do I get the national diploma in each country I'm interested in?

The acquisition of the national diplomas takes place only after the applicant has decided and determined which countries are of interest to him in order to proceed with his PCT application. This in most PCT states must be done no earlier than the expiry of 30 months from the priority date. From then on, if the application meets the requirements of the respective national office, the decision-making process for the granting or not of the corresponding national diploma begins. Obviously, the international investigation, the opinion of the examining authority as well as the supplementary international investigation and the international preliminary examination, if they have been conducted, are taken seriously.

So, despite all its difficulty, does the PCT process have advantages? 

For applicants the advantages are summarized in the following points: i) They have an additional period of 18 months within which they can explore the interest that exists in their invention, while being protected at the same time, and decide in which countries they want to proceed and in which no, ii) If the application is in the form prescribed by the PCT, it cannot be rejected on formal grounds by any contracting national office during the national phase, iii) The international search report and the written opinion contain useful information about the possibility of patenting an invention, providing a strong basis for making further decisions, iv) During the international preliminary examination, the applicant can amend his international application,to communicate with the examiner and in general to properly prepare his application before it enters the national phases, v) Through the international publication the world is informed about the applicant's application while at the same time cost reduction at the level of translations, individual applications should not be overlooked, postal fees, since the work carried out during the international processing is not repeated at the national level.since the work carried out during the international processing is not repeated at the national level.since the work carried out during the international processing is not repeated at the national level.

The input of an experienced professional in the field will help you to properly prepare your file, your applications and guide you throughout the process of granting national patents. For any questions, queries, explanations please feel free to discuss in the comments or privately.