A PCT International Patent Application allows you to reserve the right to file a utility patent application in many countries around the world. The PCT Application must be filed within a year of the date your initial patent application was filed to claim priority from your earliest application or before your invention is published. Many countries have an absolute novelty standard and often any disclosure of your invention without a non-disclosure agreement will operate to prevent you from obtaining patent protection abroad outside of the United States. That is why you need professional help for your new invention idea.
An applicant should consider filing for patent protection in foreign countries if the invention derives sales in those foreign countries as the foreign patent preparation and prosecution can be costly. A PCT International Patent Application does not issue into a patent and merely provides for a search to be conducted and report to be generated.
Thereafter, an applicant must enter the National Stage and file in the desired foreign countries. However, an applicant does not have to decide where to file specific foreign patent applications for up to 30 months from your earliest U.S. filing date, and costly foreign filing fees can be deferred until later where a more informed decision can be made.
The PCT International Patent Application is assigned to an Examiner and the Examiner conducts a search and generates an International Search Report. Based on the references cited, the Examiner will determine whether the invention has inventive step and whether the invention is novel and will prepare an International Preliminary Examination Report, which will be forwarded to the desired countries where the applicant will enter the National Stage. An applicant must file a patent application in the desired foreign countries that the applicant desires foreign protection otherwise the protection can be irrevocably lost. Therefore, it is advisable to always consult with a professional patent agency, such as Invent Help.