Expansion of PCT International Patent Application System

April 12, 2017

The PCT International patent application system is ever popular. Recently released figures show yet another year-on-year increase in the number of PCT international applications being filed. The number of PCT filings in 2016 reaching around 233,000, a 7% increase over 2015.

The UK is one of the top 10 PCT filing countries and holds on to its 7th place. The US remains the biggest filer, as it has done for the last 39 years, with 24% of all filings. China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea continue to grow their respective shares share and make up 44% of all PCT filings.

Further information on the PCT filing figures for 2016 can be found here whilst an “infographic” for PCT filing statistics for 2016 can be found here.

There’s not only growth in the number of PCT applications being filed, but there’s also further expansion in the number of PCT member countries. Jordan has recently joined the PCT system becoming the 152nd member state. This means that the filing of a PCT application can be used to seek patent protection in over 150 countries.

An international patent application, “PCT application”, is a single patent application that can be filed which facilitates the filing of patent applications in over 150 countries. A PCT application does not directly of itself result in the grant of foreign patents. Instead national/regional patent applications, derived from the PCT application, must be filed and prosecuted before their respective national/regional patent offices. Notwithstanding this, a PCT application can be useful in delaying the costs of filing foreign patent applications in a large number of countries. Moreover, before the national/regional patent applications must be filed from the PCT application, an international search report is issued. The international search report is accompanied by a written opinion regarding the patentability of the invention. This can provide an insight into the chances of ultimately securing patent protection and help make the decision concerning national/regional patent application filings.

The attorneys at Swindell & Pearson have extensive experience of the PCT system and helping clients obtain patent protection around the world. Please contact us should you be interested in finding out more about seeking patent protection abroad.

Swindell & Pearson is a UK based intellectual property firm that 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 upon Trent. To find out how Swindell & Pearson can help you and your business with any patent, trade mark or design right matters please get in touch via [email protected] or by telephone on 01332 367 051.