PCT Application

Patent Cooperation treaty

(PCT Application)

The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is an international treaty that enables the filing of patent applications in different nations. It accelerates the process by allowing applicants to submit a single international application, which is eventually examined by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The PCT does not actually grant patents, but it does make the process easier by establishing a framework for international patent protection.

Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT Application)

Overview of the PCT procedure:

  • Filing the PCT Application: The first step is to file an international application with a PCT-accredited national or regional patent office. This application should include a description of the invention, claims, and any drawings that may be required.
  • International Search: Upon filing, an international search is done by an International Searching Authority (ISA) assigned by the applicant or the receiving office. The search’s goal is to find previous art papers that are relevant to the innovation.
  • International Publication: WIPO publishes the worldwide application, making it available to the public, about 18 months after the priority date. The description, claims, and drawings as originally submitted are included in the publication.
  • International Preliminary Examination (Optional): An International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) performs a preliminary examination at the request of the applicant to offer a non-binding opinion on the patentability of the invention. This step is optional and in certain situations can be bypassed.
  • National Phase: After the international phase, the applicant enters the national phase by filing separate national or regional patent applications in the desired countries within a set deadline (typically 30 or 31 months from the priority date). The national or regional patent offices perform the patent examination and granting.
  • Patent Grant: Patent applications are examined by national or regional patent offices in accordance with their own patent laws and processes. A patent may be awarded if the innovation fulfils the patentability conditions.
It is crucial to remember that while the PCT process provides a centralised system for submitting and completing an initial examination, patents are still granted by individual national or regional patent offices. Keep in mind that this is a simplified short, and particular information and criteria may differ based on the nations involved and any extra processes selected by the applicant. For accurate and up-to-date information about your individual PCT application, it is suggested that you communicate with a knowledgeable patent attorney or agent.


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The state of the art is everything that has been made public either verbally or in writing prior to the application being filed. The aim of the novelty search is to ascertain this state of the art.

Can I file a patent for an idea?

No, patents are for inventions, not just ideas. You need to have a concrete concept with details on how it works to be patentable.

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Public disclosure of your invention before filing a patent application can jeopardize your ability to obtain a patent. It's generally recommended to keep your invention confidential until you file a patent application.

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Yes, there are international treaties like the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) that allow you to file a single application for protection in multiple countries.

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