Lithuania to Close its ‘National PCT Route’
July 10, 2014
Lithuania will be joining several other European countries (including: France, Ireland and the Netherlands) that have closed their ‘national PCT route’. This means that it will no longer be possible enter the Lithuanian national phase directly using an international (PCT) patent application. However, patent protection in Lithuania can still be sought via the PCT system by using a European application derived from an international application.
As some readers may know, an international (PCT) patent application is a single patent application that can be filed which facilitates the filing of patent applications in close to 150 countries. An international patent application does not, of itself, directly result in the grant of foreign patents. Instead national/regional patent applications, derived from the international patent application, must be filed and prosecuted before respective national/regional patent offices. As of 4 September 2014, Lithuania will be joining several other European countries in closing its ‘national PCT route’. This means it will no longer be possible to enter the Lithuanian national phase directly using an international patent application. However, since Lithuania is a party to the European Patent Convention (EPC), patent protection in Lithuania can still be sought by entering the European regional phase using an international patent application. Whilst seeking patent protection in Lithuania may not be high on the list of priorities for our readers, this upcoming change does serve to remind us of other European countries that have similarly closed their ‘national PCT route’, which notably includes: France, Ireland and the Netherlands. The full list of European countries which have already closed their ‘national PCT route’ are: Belgium, Cyprus, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Monaco, Malta, Netherlands and Slovenia. In order to seek patent protection using the PCT system in these countries (and, as of 4 September 2014, Lithuania as well) one must do so via a European regional phase entry of the PCT application.
If you have any questions concerning protecting your invention abroad, please get in touch with your usual contact at Swindell & Pearson Ltd or Martin Terry at [email protected]. Martin is based in the East Midlands, at our head office in Derby.