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FAQ: What is a PCT (International Patent Application)?

A PCT is a single filing in a single language - in English at the World Intellectual Property Organization or Canadian Intellectual Property Office - which is effective as patent application filings worldwide.

If you have 3 or more target countries where you want to procure a patent, a PCT filing is often an attractive option.

PCT can be filed as a first filing, or more commonly as a so called convention filing which claims the benefit of an earlier filing date of a previously filed patent application. For example, a US Provisional is filed today, and within 1 year from today a PCT is filed. Within 30 months from today, you enter the US, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Malaysia, and Indonesia (your sample target countries).

If your only target countries are the US and Canada, then individual filings in the US and Canada - rather than a PCT - is often the more attractive option.

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