National Phase Entry Of The PCT Patent Application In Europe
The PCT patent application or International patent application generally has two phases, 1) International Phase and 2) National Phase. The PCT patent application has to be nationalized in specific countries before the expiration of the international phase. The filing of the PCT patent application in specific countries is referred to as a National phase entry. The filing of the PCT patent application in Europe to obtain a patent is referred to as the European phase and the patent application is called a Euro-PCT patent application.
The Euro-PCT patent application has to be filed with the European Patent Office (EPO) and provides patent protection in all contracting states of EPO. Once the EPO grants the patent application, the applicant has to validate the granted patent in contracting states. If the applicant wishes to obtain a European patent then the applicant must fulfill the requirements of EPOto initiate the process of the European phase. The minimum requirements for filing a Euro-PCT patent application are as follows.
•Filing Requirements of Euro-PCT patent application
Deadline to file Euro-PCT patent application
The PCT patent application has to be entered into the European Phase before the expiration of 31 months from the earliest priority date of the PCT patent application or the date of filing of the PCT patent application in case of direct filing of the PCT patent application.
The 31-month deadline can be extended further for two months in case the deadline was missed. However, the late entry of the Euro-PCT patent application involves significant additional fees.
The Applicant can request EPO to process the PCT patent application before the 31-month date by filing an early processing request along with the prescribed fee.
Filing Requirements of Euro-PCT patent application
The European national phase entry has to be in one of the official languages of the European patent office (English, French, or German). In case the PCT patent application is published in any other language, then the applicant has to file a translation of the PCT patent application into an official EPO language. The translation can be submitted within the 31-months or within two months from the EPO notification with an additional fee. The list of documents required to initiate the European phase is as follows.
1. Copy of the PCT patent application along with Article 19 or Article 34 amendments if any. The translation of the PCT application in one of the official languages in case the PCT patent application was published in a language other than one of the official languages.
2. Payment of Filing Fee and Designation Fee
3. Request for Examination
The power of attorney is not required at the time of filing of the Euro-PCT patent application in order to obtain the filing date. However, the power of attorney has to be filed whenever the patent office sends the notice to submit the power of attorney.
Examination of a PCT national phase patent application in Europe
The request for examination of the Euro-PCT patent application has to be filed along with the filing of the patent application since the deadline to file the request for examination of the European patent application is 31 months from the priority date of the patent application. The EPO has a Patent Prosecution Highway for accelerated examination and the same can be requested while filing PCT national phase patent application in Europe.
Validation of the European pate
Once the EPO grants the Euro-PCT patent application, the European patent has to be validated in each of the designated countries by submitting a validation request along with the required translation within a specific timeline.