FLYNN IP LAW helps clients obtain patents around the world using the services of patent law firms located in the relevant countries. This is an expensive undertaking. Filing a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application allows this expense to be deferred for at least 30 months from the filing date of the first application (provisional application or non-provisional application). A 30-month delay allows a company to receive feedback on the commercial viability of the product or process and obtain information on how the application will fare in the patent process before committing substantial resources to enter patent systems outside of the United States. Part of the expense of filing patent applications outside of the United States is the need to translate the patent application into the local languages.
While a PCT application does not lead to an “international patent”, the claims in the PCT application are examined by a patent examiner and a written report is produced. If the PCT written report is favorable, an application filed in the United States based upon the PCT application can be handled on an expedited basis under a program called the Patent Prosecution Highway. Within the Patent Prosecution Highway program, an application is likely to obtain a first substantive examination with seven months which can be a considerable improvement over waiting in queue for normal examination.
For a client that is only interested in a short list of foreign countries such as Canada and Australia, it can be cost effective to skip the PCT process and simply file directly within a few foreign systems within one year of filing the first application in the United States. This process is called a Paris Treaty filing.