What is a PCT application?

The Patent Cooperation Treaty or PCT is an international agreement under which, by filing a single application, the applicant retains the right to protect patent rights in all designated member countries (>100), including the Unites States. A PCT application not only simplifies the process of filing patent applications but also delays the expenses associated with applying for patent protection in individual countries and allows the inventor(s) and ITA more time to assess the commercial viability of invention.

Eighteen months after filing a PCT application, the applicant can choose in which countries to file a national phase application, which starts a similar cycle of office actions and responses as in the US. National phase filing costs are quite substantive; just filing in Europe, Japan, Canada and Australia can cost more than $25,000 in filing fees and translation costs.