The PCT, or Patent Cooperation Treaty, is an international treaty that allows applicants to seek patent protection for their inventions in multiple countries by filing a single patent application (We discuss the PCT in greater detail in a separate post here). Once the international phase of the PCT process is complete, the application enters the national phase where it is examined by the relevant national or regional patent office.
The national phase is the stage where the applicant is required to take specific actions to obtain patent protection in each country or region where they seek protection. During this phase, the applicant must file a request for entry into the national phase with the relevant patent office, along with any necessary translations and fees.
The national phase of the PCT process is a critical step for obtaining patent protection in multiple countries or regions. It requires specific actions by the applicant, compliance with special requirements, and the payment of fees and use of national forms.
What is the national entry phase?
The national phase is the second phase of the PCT procedure, following the international phase. During this phase, the international application is processed before each Office of or acting for a Contracting State that has been designated in the international application. In each designated State, the international application has the effect of a national (or regional) application as of the international filing date, and the decision to grant protection for the invention is the responsibility of the designated Office.
The national phase of processing the international application by the designated Office is typically delayed until the termination of the international phase on the expiration of the time limits. During the national phase, the Office of or acting for the designated State will examine the application and make a determination on whether or not to grant protection for the invention in that State.
The national phase is an important part of the PCT procedure, as it allows inventors to seek patent protection in multiple countries through a single international application. It provides a streamlined and cost-effective approach to filing international patent applications, and can provide inventors with additional time to evaluate the commercial potential of their invention before committing to the costly and time-consuming process of filing patent applications in multiple countries.
What steps do you need to take to start entry into the national phase?
Before the start of the national phase, the applicant must comply with the following requirements:
Pay the national fee: The applicant must pay the national fee to each designated office. The amount of the fee and the time limit for payment may vary depending on the designated office.
Submit a translation of the international application: If the international application was not filed in an official language of the designated office, a translation of the application must be provided. The translation must be in a language accepted by the designated office.
Request examination: In most designated offices, the applicant must request examination of the international application within a certain time period. Failure to do so may result in the application being deemed withdrawn.
Submit any necessary documents: The applicant may be required to submit any necessary documents, such as a power of attorney or a certified copy of the priority document.
Before you start the national phase, you should designate the countries where you wish to seek protection. The inventor can do this by indicating the countries in the request form when filing the PCT application or by filing a separate document later on.
The national phase starts with the filing of a request for entry into the national phase along with any required translations of the international application and payment of the national fee to the designated Office within the prescribed time limit. Designate the countries where you wish to seek protection. You can do this by indicating the countries in the request form when filing the PCT application or by filing a separate document later on. The time limit for entering the national phase varies depending on the country or region but is usually 30 months from the priority date. However, some countries may have different time limits, so it's important to check the specific requirements of each designated Office.
Once the request for entry into the national phase is filed and the national fee is paid, the designated Office will begin processing the international application as a national application, and the applicant will need to comply with any requirements set by the designated Office. These requirements may include submitting translations, paying additional fees, or making amendments to the application.
Be aware of the requirements and procedures for the national phase in each designated State, as they may vary from country to country.
Q: What fees must be paid for entry into the national phase and when?