National Stage PCT

There are two main procedures in the Patent Cooperation Treaty. The national stage or the national phase is the second of the two. It comes after the international phase and consists of the processing of the international application before each Office of or acting for a Contracting State that has been designated in the international application. The national phase application is an application that is filed to get a grant of patents in various countries based on the single International application that is filed within 12 months from the priority date. These applications are filed according to the PCT that is administered by WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization).

Each national phase application with exceptions in a few countries must be submitted within 30 to 31 months from the priority date. As each country has its formality requirements such as translation, submission of PoA, assignment deed, etc., it is important to ensure that the action for national phase filing is initiated on time for efficient completion of the filings in different countries. Before the expiration of the PCT, inventors must select their specific countries in which to file. This step sometimes requires that the entire application be translated into another language. Thus, it is best to have your countries decided no more than a month out from the deadline to prevent rush fees or missing the deadline completely.

An applicant must perform some tasks before the start of the national stage such as payment of the national fees and furnishing of a translation if prescribed. In exceptional cases, you may also need to provide a copy of the international application if it is required in the office and/or an indication of the name and address of the inventor. If you fail to perform the said tasks, the international application loses the effect of a national application and the procedure comes to an end in each of the offices where the application has not been submitted.

After 30 months of the initial filing date and once the PCT process is complete, you can apply for patents directly within the countries of your choice. You need to meet each country’s individual requirements. The approval of your patent depends on the decision of national offices. Their decision is made easier by having the international search and preliminary report already completed.

Late Filing of National Stage PCT is still possible in several countries, depending on how late your application is. USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, China, Singapore are some of the countries that offer late filing.