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An international patent application provides you 2,5 years decision time

As a response to the global Covid-19 pandemic, the European Patent Office has introduced the possibility of holding oral proceedings by videoconference. This applies not only to first instance proceedings (examination and opposition), but also to oral proceedings before the Boards of Appeal.

An international patent application, also referred to as a PCT patent application wherein PCT stands for  Patent Cooperation Treaty, is a single patent application which allows the applicant to continue a patent procedure  in up to 153 jurisdictions to get patent protection for his invention.

It is advantageous for the applicant to file such a single patent application and to have that single patent application as starting point for a patent procedure in any Member State of the PCT, i.e. today 153 countries over the world.

It is a further advantage of such an international patent application that the applicant has 30 or 31 months  (depending on the country), thus in general 2,5 years, to decide in which of the 153 countries it wishes to obtain patent protection for its invention by entering the patent application in each of the desired countries.

This 2,5 years term is strategically oftentimes very important. It can be used to:
● commercialize your product, develop your product market and corresponding product strategy. Indeed, it  allows an applicant to determine the patent filing strategy based on its desired (future) product market,  (current and future) competition and (current and future) location of production.
● evaluate, based on the international search report and written opinion, the chances of success in obtaining a patent and decide subsequently in how many countries the applicants wants to invest to obtain patent  protection.

In addition, the PCT preliminary examination procedure enables the applicant to, within the 2,5 years period, bring its international patent application in a better position for entering the national phases, i.e. the countries where it wishes to obtain protection for its invention.

What’s in it for you as a potential applicant? The period of 2.5 years can be used to develop your business and to commercialize your product while in the meantime, protection of your inventions is safeguarded without much investment needs.

Therefore, the use of an international patent application for protecting your invention may be, at least in some business models, an important strategic approach to gain time to determine the commercial value of your international patent application for each country and to determine the relevant countries for your patent filing strategy.

If you wish to discuss whether this approach is advantageous for you or you have any questions, please contact us!

Peter Steeghs

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