PCT National Phase Entry
This article is a quick reference for an overview of the procedure for filing an application under the PCT route.
Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) was formed in 1970 for assisting Patent Applicants in providing a unified process for filing patent applications in several countries. The scope of applicability of patent rights expands to each PCT contracting state in which the patent application is filed. Currently, PCT is having 152 contracting states.
PCT route has a unique advantage of providing an International Search Report (ISR), by an International Search Authority (ISA), which can help an Applicant understand and appreciate the chances of getting a patent. Other formal issues also form part of the Written Opinion (WO) that comes along with the ISR, based on which the Applicant can decide/choose the countries in which it would like to file national phases. PCT also has another advantage in deferring the cost to file in different countries to 30 months form the Priority Date (PD), thereby overall making the PCT process more economical. International search gets carried out by the International Search Authorities (ISAs), wherein the availability of an ISA is determined by the Receiving Office where the International Application is filed.
For filing a patent application in several countries, an Applicant also has a choice for filing a separate patent application directly through the Paris Convention route, however the same requires the patent application to be tailor-made as per the requirements of the patent laws of each target country. Also, the cost for each country filing needs to be incurred within 12 months from the priority application itself. Separate documentation and search reports, limited timelines for filing the country-level patent applications, and higher cost of filing are some of the major challenges that the alternative route to PCT has.
For filing an International Application, translational services (in applicable countries) are the key to get the patent granted in optimal time. When filing a patent application is done in a translation requiring a country, translational mistakes are common as the same words may have different meanings. An improper translation may narrow the scope of the patent claim. It is always advisable to get the translations done by the experts.
For more information, kindly visit the country-specific section on our website.