Question: What is the PCT?
The Patent Corporation Treaty (PCT)
applies to the 128 member countries of WIPO
. The purpose of the treaty is to allow individual(s) applying for a patent in their own country the time to assess whether it is worth the costs of pursuing patents in other countries. In the meantime (currently up to 30 months depending on the country), the subject matter of the applicant's patent in their home country, is protected in all other countries specified in their PCT application. This means that if/when they proceed with applications in other countries, they cannot be rejected
based on "prior art" having been discovered/announced in the interim between the PCT application and actual filing. The PCT application MUST be proceeded by an application in their home country and the PCT application is not an actual patent application, but a system of "reserving" a spot, or preserving the right to apply at a later date.
Thus, the benefits of PCT are significant cost savings for the owner of IP who isn't sure of its value and needs time to assess the marketability of an idea in one country before applying for ownership of the idea, or licence to market a product, in other jurisdictions.
Patent Corporation Treaty. online at Patent Lens: http://www.patentlens.net/daisy/KeyOrgs/1236/418/420/422.html.