International patent questions – answered

Can I get an international patent?

There is no such thing as an international patent, nor is there an international patent office. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has an international filing system. It does not examine or grant patents – that is strictly undertaken by national or regional patent offices. It accepts filings that can be systematically accessed by participating countries – eliminating the need to file separately in each local patent office at this early stage. It effectively buys the patentee an extension to determine which countries are of interest and delays the per country expense of filing and translation.

Can I file my design patent under PCT?

There is no international design patent filing available through a PCT filing. Only utility models or conventional utility patent applications can use the PCT filing system.

What countries would I get protection with a European Patent?

European Patent Office gives patent rights in these countries:

When does the written opinion become public?

After 30 months from the priority date, the written opinion will be available on the WIPO website, but it is not published like PCT applications and international searches are. The search report (ISR) is published with the application and publicly available around the 18-month mark. For those using the new e-PCT system, the written opinion is available online to the applicant and its attorney.

Can I respond to the written opinion of the International Search Authority?

Informal comments can be submitted to the International Bureau in response to the written opinion as the International Search Authority. These comments will be sent to the national patent offices if and when a patentee decides to enter the national stage in a country. Informal comments should be filed before 28 months from the priority date (although they may be accepted up to 30 months in some cases). These informal comments are on the record but need not be considered by an Examiner. Thus, most practitioners advise that comment submission is preferable in connection with a Chapter II Demand and Article 34 amendments, or preliminary amendment upon national stage filing, because the formal arguments are certain to be considered by the national patent office Examiners.