Patent Cooperation Treaty: Patents Act, 1970

Filing patent applications under PCT indicates guarding legal security for an invention as per the patent law in more than 150 countries at once. Major global corporations, research organizations, and universities file for patent protection via PCT. It protects applicants against any errors which have a higher chance to occur if a separate application is filed in every country of interest.

What is the Patent Cooperation Treaty?

The Patent Treaty is an international treaty that includes more than 150 states contracting to make it easier to seek patent protection for an invention in more than one country simultaneously. The protection can be obtained by filing an international patent application. This single application replaces all the separate patent applications filed at the national and regional levels. However, the authority to grant this protection remains in the hands of the national and regional offices.

How did the Patent Cooperation Treaty come into practice?

The Patent Cooperation Treaty was introduced in the 1970s for a streamlining and economical procedure for patent application filing in numerous countries. With the increasing scope and value of patent protection, the treaty brought much leverage to the businesses opting for patent protection.

What are the advantages of the Patent Cooperation Treaty?

The Patent Cooperation Treaty simplifies the management of the international patent system, with these advantages:

  • Parallel Patent Protection: On applying for a patent in the United States, it precludes the chances of obtaining the protection for a patent in any other country. Under this treaty, businesses can have simultaneous protection in contracting states under PCT, even in the US.
  • Comprehensive International Patent Search: On filing a patent application with WIPO following the terms of PCT, a global patent search is conducted. It ensures whether patent protection can be issued worldwide. It is helpful to the inventor and the invention itself. For example, after performing a global search, it is discovered that the patent is not eligible to be protected. This can be withdrawn immediately, preventing any cost and effort of any national-level patenting and getting rejected at the international level. This method reduces the risk, effort, and cost.
  • Time-Saving Application Process: Filing patent applications separately in all PCT contracting states has been eliminated by amending the rules and regulations of each member country. The previous process was risky as well as time-consuming. The risk involves global patentability despite being patented at national and regional levels.
  • Solid Grounds for Patent Decisions: When a patent application is filed under PCT, the WIPO initiates a global search for patentability. Based on the report from WIPO, a decision on granting patent protection is taken quite quickly. This information plays an essential role in assessing the prospects of getting a patent.
  • Easy Amendment of Application: Before the PCT application enters the national phase, it can be amended voluntarily or based on the report issued after conducting the global search.

Is the Patent Cooperation Treaty a perfect scheme?

Only the utility patent can be obtained by the process of PCT patent application. It does not cover the design patents. Under this process, the application is sourced from all the contracting states to a single point. Therefore, there is a delay in the procedure due to the workload. However, PCT provides 18-19 months to select the country of interest. It is also costlier as the prosecution of applications requires prosecution in each country. There are certain drawbacks of the Patent Cooperation Treaty, but that is negligible before the advantages it offers. However, every year, amendments are made to the PCT system to ensure the alignment with the applicant's interest and the national patent offices in respective countries.

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