Patent Cooperation Treaty
The PCT system came into effect in 1970 and is a patent 'filing' system, not a patent 'granting' system. The PCT system comprises of two stages, an international phase and a national/regional phase before designated offices. The international phase consists of filing the international application, an international search, international publication and an international preliminary examination. The decision on granting patents is taken by the national or regional offices during the national phase.
The PCT system streamlines patent application where protection is sought in multiple international countries. It imposes only one set of formalities to adhere to (instead of multiple national formalities) and results in only one international search, publication and examination. The 'national phase' is usually entered at 30 months (some States continue to apply a 20-month time limit subject to conditions), with translations and fees only being payable at this point if the applicant wishes to proceed. The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) administers the PCT system, and is based in Geneva, Switzerland.
States Party to the Patent Cooperation Treaty
AP ARIPO Patent
Botswana, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sierra, Leone, Sudan, Swaziland*, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, São Tomé, and Príncipe Somalia
EA Eurasian Patent
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan
EP European Patent
Albania, Austria, Belgium*, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus*, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France*, Germany, Greece*, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland*, Italy*, Latvia*, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta*, Monaco*, Netherlands*, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia*, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom
OA OAPI Patent
Benin*, Burkina Faso*, Cameroon*, Central African Republic*, Comoros, Chad*, Congo, Republic of the* Côte d'Ivoire*, Equatorial Guinea*, Gabon*, Guinea*, Guinea-Bissau*, Mali*, Mauritania*, Niger*, Senegal*, Togo*
Other States Party to the Patent Cooperation Treaty
Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Darussalam, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Decomcratic PRK, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Georgia, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Laos, Libya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and The Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States, Uzbekistan, Vietnam
Total (148 States)
*Regional Patent Only