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PCT Patent Application
01 Nov, 2022 0 Editorial Team

What Is The Meaning Of A PCT Patent Application?

A PCT patent application is an international patent application that postpones the timeframe for filing a foreign patent while protecting your priority date. No “international patent” permits patent rights to all nations; this is true. Thus, every government has its patent office, collection of laws, and legal system. As a result, you must submit a patent in each country to get patent rights there. There is One unique exception to this rule.  The exception is some nations, like the European Union, have a combined application. The essential factor is that only a few patents cover all countries. So you still need to file for worldwide patent offices.

You transform your PCT application into a complete nonpatent in each one where you want patent rights. The PCT Patent, or PCT Application as it is officially known, is the closest thing. The PCT Application is essential because it is not yet a patent. It is best understood as a time expander or placeholder to keep up with the provisional patent application. It should happen before it expires in each country where you want to take a grant of patent protection.

Key facts:

  1. A PCT application either creates a 30-month filing date for a patent or extends an existing 30-month filing date. This filing date will apply to any non-provisional patent filed in a PCT-participating country. That should be before the PCT’s end date.
  2. A PCT application does not grant patent rights; it only approves producing or promotion of an invention. It acts as a date extender or placeholder so that a non-provisional patent application might use the filing date in the future.
  3. If you successfully convert your PCT application into a non-provisional patent in each nation where you desire to get patent rights, you will be secured for your invention.

Common examples of use:

Example 1: Independently submitting the PCT

Inventor Joe filed a PCT application on January 1st, 2015. The PCT stands independently and is not connected to any other patent applications because this is the first patent application he has ever filed a place for this invention. The PCT’s 30-month period will end on July 1, 2017. Joe can change his PCT into a non-provisional complete patent application in any nation that participates in the PCT before July 1, 2017.

He shall ensure the use of the PCT date of January 1, 2015, for any complete patent applications he files. For example, if Joe submits a patent application before July 1, 2017, the US application will consider the PCT’s January 1, 2015, submission date. By doing this, Joe’s US patent application will receive a January 1, 2015 date. And become the first one eligible for a patent, instead of anyone who might have submitted a patent application for a similar invention after that date. If all of them are submitted before the PCT’s deadline of July 1, 2017, Joe can use the same PCT to change into further international patent applications in the same method. They all take on the PCT’s first filing date of January 1, 2015.

Example 2: Filing a PCT to extend the filing date of a previous patent application

On January 1st, 2015, inventor Joe filed a US Provisional Patent Application. In any nation Joe desires to file for patent rights in, provisional applications give him a 12-month opportunity in which to do so. On January 1, 2016, Joe’s provisional patent application will be cancelled (12 months after filing).

However, Joe is not yet ready to submit a complete patent application in every nation. To maintain his position, Joe also wants to make sure that his provisional patent on January 1, 2015, date is kept. He will lose his January 1, 2015, date if he allows his provisional patent to decline, possibly allowing someone else to take priority. Before January 1, 2016, when the provisional patent expires, Joe submits a PCT Patent that refers to his PCT to maintain his January 1, 2015 date. Before the provisional patent application expires, he must file the PCT. As a result, Joe has extended his provisional patent application by an extra 18 months. The PCT application will run for 30 months starting when the provisional patent is filed.

12 months from the earliest provisional patent application and 18 more after filing the PCT, for a total of 30 months for the PCT. Joe has an extra 18 months to file non-provisional complete patent applications in each nation he would like to do so, and they can all use the provisional patent’s original January 1, 2015, filing date. On July 1, 2017, Joe’s PCT will be over, 30 months after the date of the provisional patent.