The Patent Cooperation Treaty definitely has an impact on patent law, and particularly, on international patent registration. In regards to the United States patent laws, however, there is no real impact that can be reflected upon the actual body of legislation or regulations. The impact itself can come in terms of the overall intention of the PCT, which was to facilitate for recognition of patent rights in foreign countries through using a single application and registration process. The PCT allows for a United States patent owner or holder to file an application under this system, and if approved, have that patent recognized by all the signatory states or countries abiding by the PCT patent law.
Furthermore, under United States patent law, if an individual files for an international patent registration within one year of the U.S. filing for patent registration, the foreign country will recognized the application as having the date of original filing in the United States. One of the key advantages provided by the PCT is that under this international patent registration system, the “national phase” of international registration can be delayed.
In other words, implementing the PCT will allow for more time to consider the implications of filing for patent rights in certain countries that filing in each individual country would not provide due to their own patent law and patent registration procedures. The reason that the Patent Cooperation Treaty has no true implications on the United States patent law system is that it is designed to be self-sufficient; in other words, the PCT is formulated as a faction apart from the domestic patent registration systems of its signatories, and simply works with them to help the international patent registration procedure be simpler.
On the international scale, the Patent Cooperation Treaty serves as the main international patent law and international patent registration system. The functionality and its structure resemble that of the Madrid System, which is an international system for the registration of trademarks–which is also governed by the International Bureau. Though there is no formal international patent to be obtained–patent rights are administered by domestic offices as if they were properly registered under their own laws–the PCT acts as a unified and extensive system designed to implement patent law and protection across world.
Though international patent registration under the PCT patent law system requires that a country be a signatory to its provisions, in certain cases, countries or nations not having membership may also be considered for international patent registration and protection rights. The effectiveness of the Patent Cooperation Treaty in securing patent protection rights in several countries through a single patent application process makes it an attractive option for countries throughout the world, thus making its implementation a more universal practice. Contact patent lawyers to review your case.