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What is Patent Cooperation Treaty “PCT”?

The PCT is an international treaty that has been concluded in Washington in 1970 AD and came into force action in 1974 AD; it is one of the important treaties of the international patent system because it provides an international system that facilitates the procedures for filing patent applications. It is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), its membership reached 153 members. The application filed through the treaty passes undergoes the following stages: filing, international search, international publication, additional international search (optional), international preliminary examination (optional) and the national phase.

Therefore, PCT is a system for filing patent applications which does not provide an “international patent”, as the methods for protecting patent applications are either by filing an application at the National Office and Protection within the borders of the state or by filing an application before one of the regional and protection offices at the regional level such as the Gulf Patent Office that protects the patent in the Gulf states and other regional offices.

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Advantages of an international application

  • Standardizing and facilitating registration and formal examination procedures which saves time, effort and costs.
  • Take advantage of the first filing date to 30 months to determine which countries for which the application is to be filed later in order to request protection.
  • The applicant obtains an international search report containing a list of published documents and a written report that explains whether the application can obtain a patent or not, and this report is not binding on member states.
  • The applicant can take advantage of the time to do more economic studies and evaluation of the invention or search for investors or commercial opportunities as well as to appoint local agents and prepare the necessary requirements to enter the national phase.
  • The applicant can amend the application according to the notes contained in the research report and submit an international preliminary examination request.
  • The applicant may obtain an additional preliminary international examination report in order to analyze the international research report and provide a written opinion on whether the application may obtain a patent or not, which may expedite the process of examining the application before the national offices.

The phases of the international application

First: The International phases:
  1. Filing: The international application is filed at (WIPO) directly, or in any regional or national “receiving office” such as the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property, after fulfilling all the formal requirements required by the treaty.
  2. International search (ISR): The International Search Authority (ISA), which chosen by the applicant, identifies published documents that may affect the probability of getting the patent application with adding a written opinion.
  3. International publication: The patent application is publish after 18 months from the date of the first filing in one of the following languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
  4. Additional international search (optional): Upon the request of the applicant, another “International Searching Authority” identifies documents published in different languages and technical fields that may affect the possibility of obtaining a patent. It differs from the first international search as it may contain various other documents and more details.
  5. International Preliminary Examination (IPER) (Optional): The International Preliminary Examining Authority shall, at the request of the applicant, analyze international search reports and provide a written opinion whether the application may obtain a patent or not, and the analysis is usually based on a modified version of the application.
Second: The national phase:

 After the PCT-related procedures are completed, patent granting procedures start at a national (or regional) patent office directly in the countries for which they are seeking patents, and patent granting remains the prerogative of national or regional patent offices, according to applicable regulations. The application is transferred to the national phase when the applicant identifies the countries in which he/she aims to protect his invention after the international phase.

Decide if you need to submit an international application?

  • If you are aiming to protect your invention and obtain a patent in more than one country (usually we advise those who target 3 countries and more for protection) shall submit an international patent application, so that it can:
  • Obtain a technical opinion indicating the invention’s chances of obtaining a patent.
  • Prepare the application formally and technically before filing the application with the targeted countries (the national phase).
  • Publish the application at an international database (patentscope) and thus highlight your invention for those interested (marketing the invention).
  • Provide you an additional time up to 30 months so that you can amend the patent application in addition to manufacture the invention and know its economic feasibility.

The costs of filing the application according to the treaty:

The international application can be filed in Arabic or English languages.

International application filing options:

  • Send the request to the e-mail pct@saip.gov.sa, attached to Form 101.
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  • The other option (when choosing it, there is a reduction in the filing fees).
    • Create an account with the electronic treaty system (ePCT) at the
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Note: When deciding to file an application under the PCT and to take advantage of the priority of an earlier filed application, you have to ensure that 12 months have not passed from the date of your filing of your previous application.

 

Costs of filing the application according to the treaty:

 

There are four types of fees when filing an international application, which are:

  1. The International filing fee.
  2. The research fee.
  3. The simple fee for transferring that varies by different patent offices.
  4. The priority fees.

 

You can get more information about the treaty fees at the following website: https://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/pct/en/fees.pdf

 

As for the fees that has to be paid after the application enters the national phase, it shall subject to each office at which registered, and may include the fees of translation of the application, fees for filing at national (or regional) offices, fees for attorney or local patent agents, etc.

 

• To see the treaty timeline, click here.

• To see the frequently asked questions, click here.

National Phase Entry:

After completing the international phase, the international application can enter the national phase, and this phase shall be concluded with the approval of the Patents Office to grant the patent or not.
The applicant can enter the national phase after submitting the international application (at any time during the international phase).

 

Required conditions:

  • The patent application have to be filed within the 30-month deadline from the date of the first filing (priority), and if there is no precedence, the 30-month period is calculated from the international application filing date.
  • Translating the application into Arabic.
  • Paying the patent application filing fee.
  • A copy of the international application (in case of entering the national phase early, that is, before the International Bureau sends a copy of the international application).
  • Under Chapter One: translating protection elements as amended and any statement under Article 19.
  • Under Chapter Two: translating the attachments of the international preliminary examination report regarding patentability.
  • Fulfill some certain conditions under Rule number 51 of the treaty law (amendment of the agent or inventor’s oath, declaration or designated, etc.. ).

 

Not required:

  • Provide a copy of the priority for the international application filed in the national phase.

 

The expiration of 30 months period:

The applicant must adhere to a 30-month deadline and make a decision to select countries within a sufficient period before the end of the international phase. However, the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property grants a grace period, as stipulated in rule 49, paragraph 6 of the treaty system (two months from the date of causes of non-compliance or 12 months from the expiry of the period entry to the national phase, whichever occurs first, provided submitting a petition which includes justifications for non-compliance and payment of service fee ).

The mechanism for submitting a petition to the Authority

Required conditions:

  1. The patent application have to be filed within the 30-month deadline from the date of the first filing (priority), and if there is no precedence, the 30-month period is calculated from the international application filing date.
  2. Translating the application into Arabic.
  3. Paying the patent application filing fee.
  4. A copy of the international application (in case of entering the national phase early, that is, before the International Bureau sends a copy of the international application).
  5. Under Chapter One: translating protection elements as amended and any statement under Article 19.
  6. Under Chapter Two: translating the attachments of the international preliminary examination report regarding patentability.
  7. Fulfill some certain conditions under Rule number 51 of the treaty law (amendment of the agent or inventor’s oath, declaration or designated, etc.. ).

Application form to return the right in order to enter the national phase:
The form download link.

Application Fee:

  • 1000 riyals, the applicant is an individual.
    2000 riyals, the applicant is a company or institution (legal capacity).

  • Bank account details:

    Bank  Alinma Bank
    IBAN  SA8105000068224248888000
    Account Holder’s Name  Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property

    Send the application form and a copy of the payment receipt to the email: pct@saip.gov.sa

Guidance video clips on the PCT
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