The Patent Cooperation Treaty provides a unified procedure for filing patent applications to protect inventions in each of its contracting countries. Under the PCT, an inventor can file a single international patent application in one language with one patent office enabling an inventor to subsequently seek protection for an invention simultaneously in up to 117 countries throughout the world. While the PCT does not grant an international patent that protects infringement worldwide, the PCT system does:
- simplify the process of filing foreign patent applications;
- delays the expenses associated with applying for patent protection in multiple countries; and
- allows the inventor greater time (30 months) to assess the commercial viability of the invention.
Filing a PCT application, instead of direct filing in multiple countries, allows you to delay “National Phase” filing in these countries up to 30 months from your US filing date (31 months in some). The PCT application will be searched and examined by the receiving office in preparation of issuing an International Search Report and an International Preliminary Report on Patentability. The reports allow applicants to assess the viability of seeking patent protection and provide a basis for crafting an international patenting strategy.
It is important to note that at the end of the PCT International Phase time period, it is necessary to file national applications in each country in which you desire patent protection.
Filing through the PCT is expensive – expect to spend $4,000-$5,000 for the PCT Application, most of which is government filing fees.
For information on how Mitchell Law PLLC can help you file or protect your invention internationally, please contact us today.