The patent cooperation treaty

The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is an international treaty that was concluded in 1970 as a special agreement under the 1883 Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. It establishes an international system for the filing and examination of patent applications and the conduct of “prior art” (technical literature) searches that is administered by a network of national and regional patent offices acting as Receiving Offices, International Searching Authorities and/or International Preliminary Examining Authorities. Its specific purpose is to help inventors obtain a patent for the same invention in two or more PCT countries by allowing them to assert their claim internationally have it subjected to preliminary assessment before committing to one or more local applications. It thus reduces the risk of wasted expenditure by enabling an applicant to postpone the decision to pursue an application to grant until confident of its success. By creating a series of pre-grant procedures with recognised validity in each of the PCT’s nearly 140 countries, it also provides a basis for the harmonisation of patentability standards and facilitates the move toward the creation of an international patent.
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