The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is an international treaty with an objective of simplifying the process of seeking Patent Registration ffor an invention in multiple countries for any applicant belonging to the member countries of PCT. The entities interested in covering multiple jurisdictions (countries) can file a PCT application without going into nitty gritty of Patent Rules, procedures and filing requirements prevailing in each of the member countries. However, it is to be understood that PCT application in itself is neither a patent application nor it provides protection in any of the member countries unless a corresponding National phase application is filed in the intended member country.
Anyone who is a national or resident of a Member Country can file a PCT application and it can either be made in the member state (receiving office) or directly with the International Bureau (IB) in the WIPO. The said application has to be made within 12 months from the priority date and in a case where the application does not contain any priority claim, the international filing date will be considered to be the priority date.
Filing of PCT application provides additional 18-month time to enter in national phase with the desired member countries. Therefore, if an entity (natural person or legal entity or combination thereof) is filing initial or first Patent application or priority application in the Patent office of a member country, then the said entity has to enter in national phase within 30/31 month (as the case may be). This is advantageous in comparison to the Convention Filing route where the applicant gets only 12 months to enter into a country of interest from the priority date.
Another noteworthy advantage for the entity taking a PCT filing route is that certified copies of Priority document is not required to be furnished at the time of entering national phase in any member country which not only reduces cost of filing but also formal requirements.
In the light of the aforementioned, it is inferred that PCT filing can be advantageous for flowing reasons: firstly, it enables a streamlined patent filing process for multiple countries; secondly, the extended timeline for entering into national phase gives enough time to the applicant to identity partners in member countries, assess the market in a member country of interest, and arrange funds for national phase filings; and thirdly, the applicant gets an opportunity to fine tune the PCT application, which improves the chances of getting patent, in light of the search report and written opinion issued by International Searching and International Preliminary Examining Authorities under the PCT.
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