Basics of the PCT patent registration system

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Basics of the PCT patent registration system

The PCT patent registration system is an international patent registration system that supports individuals and businesses that want a cost-effective and time-efficient method of patenting in many different countries.

PCT Patent Registration System

The PCT Patent Registration System is an international system administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). PCT is an acronym for “Patent Cooperation Treaty”, also known as “Patent Cooperation Agreement”.

The PCT system allows registrants the ability to register their inventions in one country and simultaneously file patent applications in multiple international countries with a single application for a single fee. This helps to reduce the cost and time of patent registration for businesses and individuals who want to take advantage of commercial advantages from creations and inventions.

Specifically, with PCT, patent applications will be examined by WIPO and intellectual property offices in countries and territories that are a member of the PCT. Once the registration is approved, the invention will be protected in the countries and territories participating in the PCT that approved such registration.

Note about the PCT system

In addition to the advantages of convenience and cost, procedures, etc., it should be noted that when one party registers a patent via PCT, it does not mean that it is certain that the invention will be approved in all member countries of the PCT.

PCT can be understood as a tool to help connect easily between the registrant and the Intellectual Property Office of each country in the PCT system. Thereby, the approval of patent registration in that country will depend on the registered content of the patent application and the intellectual property law and patent law of that country.

If a part of the application is considered to be inconsistent with the laws of a country such as carrying prohibited characters, infringing on other inventions, etc., the patent application in that country will not be accepted, even though the application has been successfully registered for patent protection in the country of origin.

In addition, another noteworthy note is that although the PCT system is the largest patent registration system in the world, there are still many countries that are not in the PCT system such as Taiwan, Eritrea, Bhutan, etc. There are many countries that have applied to join the PCT but has not been agreed for accession to the PCT by WIPO.

Thereby, the registrant needs to check whether the intended country of registration is part of the PCT in order to draw up a corresponding registration plan. If not, it is best that the applicant goes to that country themselves and filed directly to the IP Office of that country. Or, to save time, the applicant can choose to contact a reputable IP law firms which have branches, associates in many different countries that have the ability to file the patent application with ease, reduce cost and inconvenience.

Finally, when registering for PCT, the registrant can choose the country of registration to save costs according to its development plan without necessarily automatically choosing to register in all countries in the PCT system (About 153 countries by the end of 2021).

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