• Click to Chat Live
  • CAll US
    1-800-919-2493
  • Contact Us
  • Blog

What is a PCT Patent Application?

Key facts:

  1. A PCT Patent Application establishes a patent filing date for 30 months, or extends a previous patent filing date to a total of 30 months. This filing date can then be used by any non-provisional patent application filed in a participating PCT country, before the PCT expires.
  2. A PCT Patent Application does not grant patent rights. It is a date placeholder to be used by a non-provisional patent application later.
  3. A PCT Patent Application gives you protection so long as you eventually convert it into a non-provisional patent application in each country you want patent rights in.

 

Common examples of use:

Example 1: Filing the PCT stand-alone
Inventor Joe files a PCT patent application on January 1, 2015. This is the first application he has filed for this invention, so the PCT is stand-alone, and not linked to any other patent applications. The PCT lasts for 30 months and will expire on July 1, 2017. Any time before July 1, 2017, Joe can file a non-provisional full patent application in any country that participates in the PCT. Any full patent application he files will use the January 1, 2015 date of the PCT. For example, Joe could file a patent application in the US before July 1, 2017 and the US application will inherit the January 1, 2015 date of the PCT. This ensures that Joe’s US patent application gets a January 1, 2015 date, and will be first eligible for a patent, before anyone who may have filed a patent application for a similar invention after January 1, 2015.

 

Example 2: Filing PCT to extend another patent application’s filing date
Inventor Joe files a Provisional Patent Application in the US on January 1, 2015. Provisional applications allow Joe 12 months of time to file full non-provisional patent applications in each country Joe wants to apply for patent rights in. For Joe, his provisional patent application will expire January 1, 2016. However, Joe is not ready to file a full patent application in every country by this time. Further, Joe wants to make sure he keeps the January 1, 2015 date of his provisional patent to keep his place in line as the first to invent. If he lets his provisional patent expire, he will lose his January 1, 2015 date, potentially allowing someone else to be first in line. To keep his date, Joe files a PCT Patent Application before January 1, 2016, which links to his PCT. He must file the PCT before the provisional patent application expires. The result is the PCT application will last 30 months from the provisional patent filing date and Joe has essentially extended his provisional patent application 18 additional months. This is 18 additional months Joe can file non-provisional full patent applications in each country he wants to apply in and they can all use the January 1, 2015 date of his provisional patent application. Joe’s PCT will expire on July 1, 2017, which is 30 months from the provisional patent application date.


 

Participating PCT Countries

Albania
Algeria
Angola
Antigua and Barbuda
Armenia
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bahrain
Barbados
Belarus
Belgium
Belize
Benin
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Botswana
Brazil
Brunei Darussalam
Bulgaria
Burkina Faso
Cameroon
Canada
Central African Republic
Chad
Chile
China
Colombia
Comoros
Congo
Costa Rica
Côte d’Ivoire
Croatia
Cuba
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Denmark
Dominica
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
Egypt
El Salvador
Equatorial Guinea
Estonia
Finland
France
Gabon
Gambia
Georgia
Germany
Ghana

Greece
Grenada
Guatemala
Guinea
Guinea-Bissau
Honduras
Hungary
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Iran (Islamic Republic of)
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Japan
Kazakhstan
Kenya
Kyrgyzstan
Lao People’s Democratic Republic
Latvia
Lesotho
Liberia
Libya
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Madagascar
Malawi
Malaysia
Mali
Malta
Mauritania
Mexico
Monaco
Mongolia
Montenegro
Morocco
Mozambique
Namibia
Netherlands
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Niger
Nigeria
Norway
Oman
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Peru
Philippines

Poland
Portugal
Qatar 
Republic of Korea
Republic of Moldova
Romania
Russian Federation
Rwanda
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
San Marino
Sao Tome and Principe
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Serbia
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
South Africa
Spain
Sri Lanka
Sudan
Swaziland
Sweden
Switzerland
Syrian Arab Republic
Tajikistan
Thailand
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Togo
Trinidad and Tobago
Tunisia
Turkey
Turkmenistan
Uganda
Ukraine
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
United Republic of Tanzania
United States of America
Uzbekistan
Viet Nam  
Zambia
Zimbabwe

 

© October 25, 2016 Thoughts to Paper LLC