Written by Michael Coyle on 23 January 2008« Return to Reading Room
When you file a UK patent in the UK it only provides protection in the UK. If you want protection in a number of countries then, in general a separate application has to be made in each country in which protection is desired, and the applications filed within ONE YEAR of the original filing. This means that a considerable investment in terms of filing and translation fees has to be made at a very early stage of an invention.The UK's IPO now offers a fast-track service that enables you to receive search results before the one-year period has expired, which is helpful.Before the one year period expires you can then decide whether or not to file in other applications
While there is no such thing as an international patent. There are a number of developments designed to make it easier to obtain patent protection in different countries.
The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is to eliminate the need for a separate application and search to be made in each country. By December 2007, 138 countries were signatories to the PCT .
The PCT system reduces the number of searches that need to be done (and paid for), and also has the merit of delaying the decision point at which payment must be made and a choice made as to the countries in which to proceed.
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