The Patent Cooperation Treaty is becoming ever more popular
July 15, 2015
A recent survey by the World intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) suggests that the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is becoming ever more popular, with the overall number of filings increasing to 214,500 applications in 2014, a 4.5% increase over the previous year.
The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is an international agreement for filing patent applications having effect in up to 148 countries, at the last count.
A recent survey by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) suggests that the PCT system is becoming ever more popular, with the overall number of filings increasing to some 215,000 applications in 2014, a 4.5% increase over the previous year.
The U.S. was the primary country of origin for PCT filers in 2014, with 61,492 applications and 7.1% growth. Japan followed with 42,459 applications, representing a 3% decline on 2013. In third place, applicants from China filed 25,539 applications – an 18.7% annual increase. The UK appears in the top 10 with 4,247 filings and an impressive 9% growth on last year’s figures.
The survey also provides an interesting insight into which technological areas are currently in vogue. Computer technology with 17,653 published applications – or 8.4% of the total – accounted for the largest share of PCT applications, followed by digital communication (7.7%) and electronic machinery (7.3%). This is perhaps not unexpected given the high consumer demand and rapid development of technology in these areas.
A PCT application has only a limited life and must be separated into individual national/regional patent applications within 30 or 31 months from the filing date (or the filing date of another application from which the international application claims priority, if applicable), depending on the jurisdiction of interest.
An alternative to the PCT is to instead file priority claiming applications in the jurisdictions of interest within 12 months of a first filing, for instance in the UK.
The PCT therefore provides an extended period of time (i.e. 30/31 months rather than 12 months) to assess the commercial viability of an invention before committing to filing multiple patent applications in the jurisdictions of interest. The costs involved in such filings are also delayed.
To find out further about the PCT, please get in touch with your usual contact at Swindell & Pearson or Simon Foster at [email protected]. Simon is based at our Derby office and is on track to qualify as a UK and European Patent Attorney.