PCT Application Process
The Patent Co-operation Treaty or PCT is an agreement for international cooperation in the field of patents having effect in all the member countries. India became a PCT Contracting state on December 7, 1998. The PCT does not provide any grant of “international patents”. The PCT procedure consists of two main phases. It begins with the filing of an international application and ends (in the case of a favorable outcome for the applicant) with the grant of a number of national and/or regional patents: hence the terms “international phase” and “National Phase.”
Under the PCT, an applicant can file a single international patent application in one language with one receiving patent office in order to simultaneously seek protection for an invention in all the member countries throughout the world. This allows a resident or national of a PCT member state to obtain the effect of patent filings in any or all of the PCT countries. If the applicant does not enter the national phase within the prescribed time limit, the International Application loses its effect in the designated or elected States.
The international phase
The international phase consists of five stages. The first three occur automatically for all international applications and the last two are optional.
Together with the published international application, the international search report and any supplementary international search report & the international preliminary report on patentability is communicated to the national (or regional) Offices which the applicant wishes to grant him, a patent on the basis of his international application (the so-called elected Offices”).
The PCT-national phase must follow the international phase. The applicant must individually “enter into the national phase.”
The deadline for entry into the National Phase in India is 31 months from the international filing date or priority date whichever is earlier. The filing date of the application shall be the international filing date accorded under the Patent Cooperation Treaty.
Following are the filing requirements for entry into National Phase in India:
(ii) Declaration of inventorship by the Applicant,
In case of PCT application, request for Examination has to be filed within 48 months from the date of priority.
After a request for examination is filed and the Application has been published in the Patent Journal, the Application will be examined and the Controller will then communicate the report to the Applicant or the Patent agent as the case may be. The Applicant is provided 12 months’ time to respond to the issues raised in the Examination report, without any extension whatsoever. Once objections are met and after expiration of six months from the date of publication and disposal of any pre grant opposition, patent shall be granted and the Grant of the Patent will be published in the Patent Journal and Patent Document shall be issued.
Grant of Patent is valid for 20 years from its date of International filing. It must be renewed every year by paying prescribed fee starting from the third year from the year of filing of International Patent Application within three months of such intimation.
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