Patents are the legal rights over an invention that allows the investor to earn the benefits over his invention. Hence, having patent rights will let you license, monetize, reproduce, market, etc. your invention legally. It also prohibits your competitors from doing all such things using your invention in their name. Since it is illegal, thus if you find an infringer on your patent rights you can sue him also. However, enforcement of patent rights depends upon the area of its jurisdiction. Thus, to secure your invention all over the world, you need to file it under the PCT system. But before doing that you need to understand the PCT patent definition.
PCT means Patent cooperation treaty, and this article will tell you everything you need to know about it. Thus, read till end.
Also read: Elements of Patent Application Drafting
What is meant by PCT?
As told above, PCT is the abbreviation, for patent cooperation treaty. It is an international treaty signed under the presence of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It is the same organization that administers PCT patents. PCT patent definition, allows the inventor to get patent in many countries by filing a single international patent application. Patent corporation treaty has 151 countries as its member states as of September 2016. Thus, purpose of PCT is, you don’t need to file individual national patent applications under PCT patents.
The patent grant process starts with the national phase. Here each patent office processes the application as per their national patent laws. They then decide whether to grant patent protection or not to your invention. The time for patent grant varies from country to country prosecution process. Please not that national phase is the phase where patent grant starts. You still need to initially file the international patent application.
How patenting is done under PCT?
PCT patent definition starts with patent application filing in any of the member countries. Thereby you get the patent pending tag along with initial patent filing date. Later, the WIPO sends worldwide patent search report along with the suggestion regarding the patentability of invention. Both these reports helps in getting patent grants in PCT member countries very much easier.
Following points teach you the step by step process of acquiring international patent grant in PCT member countries:
Filing of Application:
You initially need to file the patent application with your regional office, or in one of the member country of PCT, or directly at the WIPO. This will give you the first filing date that will be applicable to all the member countries of PCT. Later, you get the time period of 1 year where you need to do subsequent filing in all the member countries in which you want to obtain patent grant.
Examination by International Search Authority:
Once you finish with the PCT patents filing, the International Search Authority (ISA) examines your application. Parameters of examination includes checking the patentability of your invention via search reports, prior art report, applicability etc. ISA issues the written report for their finding regarding the patentability of invention. Generally, the reports of PCT patents examination are released within 16 months of first filing date.
Publishing in International Journals:
After the patent examination is over, ISA publishes the inventor’s patent application in international journals. It informs the whole world about it and invites oppositions if any on the PCT patent application. In patent cooperation treaty, 18 months is the duration within first filing date in which publishing should happen.
PCT patent definition, means usually after 30 months from the first filing date the whole PCT application procedure ends. Once all the PCT patents procedure ends, and no issues are there you can start claiming the patent grant. However, you can get the regional patent grant directly from the national patent office of PCT member country. This is the national phase, where subsequent patent filing is done in individual countries.
Also read: What is a Provisional Patent Application?
Is PCT Application a Patent?
A PCT application is a temporary placeholder that delays the mechanism. Hence, you get more time to enter the national stage of each member country you wish to obtain patent grant. So, PCT patent definition only means the starting of foreign patent filing process. This in no way means, you have got the international patent rights. It grants you the initial filing date which will be applicable in all the member countries of patent corporation treaty.
Hence, the moment you file the patent application in any member country you get the filing date. It means, you invention gets the tag of patent pending internationally. Now if anyone develops an invention similar to yours, it will be a prior art. Thus, PCT application gives you a patent pending tag. Later, you need to do subsequent patent filings in all the member countries you wish to obtain patent grant.
Keep in mind that a PCT application merely starts the foreign filing process. A PCT filing does not mean that you have obtained any granted foreign patents. In other words, filing a PCT application means you are merely patent-pending worldwide. You can assume of a PCT application as a provisional application for worldwide protection. It means you must follow through with subsequent filings in order to get PCT patents grant.
Also read: What is a PCT Patent Application?
How to understand PCT Patent definition and its filing?
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