TRANSLATING CO-OPERATION TREATIES
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About the Patent Cooperation Treaty
The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is an international patent law treaty. It was concluded in 1970, and provides a unified procedure for filing patent applications to protect inventions in each of its contracting states. It protects an inventor in a member country by ensuring priority for their inventions over any inventors who are from non-member countries. Member countries are not under any obligation to file separate applications for their inventions. A patent application filed under the PCT is called an international application, or a PCT application.
A single filing of an international application is made with a Receiving Office (RO) in one language. It then results in a search that is carried out by an International Searching Authority (ISA), accompanied by a written opinion regarding the patentability of the invention that is the subject of the application. As an additional option, this is followed by a preliminary examination, which is carried out by an International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA). Finally, the relevant national or regional authorities administer any matters that are related to the examination of the application (if so provided by national law) and the issuance of the patent.
Nicolette van Neer
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