Hi.  My name is Mark Trenner.  I’m a patent attorney.  I started my law firm, the Trenner Law Firm, in 2004, that is over 10 years ago, and I’ve been helping individual inventors, entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses, ever since, to protect their inventions with patent applications.  In the over 15 years that I’ve been registered with the US Patent Office, I’ve written hundreds of patent applications and we’ve had a lot of those issued.

Today I’m here to answer your question, what is a PCT patent application.  Let’s start off by defining what PCT is.  PCT is a Patent Cooperation Treaty.  So, when you hear PCT you will know you are talking about Patent Cooperation Treaty patent application, a PCT patent application.  The PCT came about because of the Paris Convention, which is an international treaty that tells you which countries have agreed to recognize the patent rights and the patent filings in various countries in their own country.  For example, the European patent office will recognize the filing date in the US patent office as long as you file in the European patent office within one year of filing in the US patent office or you can file a PCT patent application.  So as long as you file a PCT patent application within one year of your US filing then you can go into any of these other countries within 30 months of your earliest filing date.  A PCT patent application is a good way to preserve your right in a lot of different countries throughout the world, but not all countries.  Not all countries are members. For example, Taiwan is not a member.   Most industrialized countries are members.  China, Japan and Europe are all members of the Paris Convention and you can file a PCT.  Now, in those countries that are not, like Taiwan, you have to file directly in those countries, and you need to file before any public disclosure.  You will need to file in those countries when you file your first patent application.

The PCT is a good way, if you do want to protect internationally.  Please keep in mind it is very expensive.  The government filing fee alone is $3,000.00 and then within that 30 months your going to have to file in the individual countries, for example you might have to file in the European patent office.  And then you are going to start incurring attorney fees and patent office filing fees in each of those countries.  Talk to your patent attorney to find out if it is a good idea and whether it makes sense from a business strategy to file a PCT patent application for your invention.

My name is Mark Trenner.  I hope that this has answered your question of what is a PCT patent application. 

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