What is an international PCT patent application?
- The filing of a single PCT application allows you to seek patent protection in 150+ jurisdictions simultaneously.
- Before the PCT application expires, national patent applications must be filed in each jurisdiction of interest.
- There is no such thing as a global or international patent per se.
Patent rights are jurisdictional
Firstly, there is no such thing as a ‘world patent’ or ‘global patent’. For example, an Australian patent only covers Australia.
To obtain patent protection elsewhere, you can:
- file individual patent applications in each country of interest; and/or
- file a patent application under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).
The filing of a single PCT application allows you to simultaneously seek patent protection in 150+ jurisdictions around the world. However, the PCT application does not equate to granted global patent rights; it simply buys you time before you need to file individual patent applications in each country of interest.
Why file a PCT application?
Filing individual patent applications, particularly in many jurisdictions, can be expensive (see typical patent costs here).
A PCT application can buy businesses an additional 18-19 months before they need to file individual patent applications in each country of interest. This gives businesses more time to commercialise their invention and determine their most profitable markets so they can better target their patent protection strategy.
Other benefits of the PCT application
Aside from affording Australian businesses additional time to consider their commercialisation and patent protection strategies, there are a host of other benefits, including:
- translation of your patent specification into the languages of your target countries can be delayed;
- you will receive an International Search Report and a Written Opinion detailing the strength of your patent application;
- you can request International Preliminary examination of your PCT application to ascertain the prospect of patent protection before incurring the expenses involved in applying for protection in each country of interest;
- publication of your PCT application puts the world on notice of your invention;
- you can indicate your interest in concluding licensing agreements on PATENTSCOPE, which can be an effective means of advertising and looking for potential licensees; and
- other cost savings are available because work done during the processing of your PCT application need not be repeated before each patent office.
- PCT applications are filed by major corporations, research institutions and universities interested in multinational patent protection.
- PCT applications help delay costs associated with filing patent applications in each country of interest.
- The PCT filing process can give you an indication of your chances of patent protection around the world, before you commit to the substantial costs associated with filing in each country of interest.
- See where the PCT application fits in the patent application process.