The PCT keeps growing

August 01, 2011

On 3 May 2011 Qatar deposited its instrument of accession to the PCT and on 3 August 2011 will become bound by the PCT.

Likewise, on 31 May 2011 Rwanda deposited its instrument of accession to the PCT and on 31 August 2011 will become bound by the PCT. Consequently, any International application filed from 3 August and 31 August 2011 will automatically include the designation of Qatar and Rwanda respectively. Also, from these dates, nationals and residents of Qatar and Rwanda will be entitled to file International applications under the PCT. The filing of an International application keeps your options open for seeking patent protection in as wide a range of countries as possible whilst also delaying the costs of foreign national patent applications following the filing of your initial patent application. PCT membership is ever expanding and the addition of Qatar and Rwanda now takes the total membership up to 145 countries (please refer to for a current list of PCT countries). Thus, PCT applications are a popular way of keeping your filing options open. In fact, the 2,000,000th PCT application has recently been filed! International applications are generally based on one or more earlier applications. For U.K. applicants the earlier applications are usually national U.K. applications. The filing date of the earliest filed application is called “the priority date”. After filing an International application, an International search report is issued around sixteen months after the priority date and includes a preliminary opinion on the patentability of the invention. This opinion can be useful in deciding on a prosecution and International filing strategy. Whilst not essential, if desired, it is possible to amend the claims of the International application at this stage and an optional international preliminary examination may be requested. The International procedure does not itself proceed right through to grant of patents. Instead, it is eventually necessary to file national applications and/or regional applications (such as a European application) for countries of interest. These national/regional applications are required to be filed in most (but not all) instances within thirty months of the priority date. Please contact Martin Terry for more details [email protected] or your usual patent contact at Swindell & Pearson Ltd.

Swindell & Pearson has been helping businesses and individuals protect and defend their ideas, innovations and brands for over 130 years. With its head office in Derby, the firm also has offices in Stoke, Wolverhampton, Stafford, Sheffield and Burton. To find out how Swindell & Pearson can help you with any intellectual property requirements please get in touch via [email protected] or by telephone on 01332 367 051.