The Catholic University of America

Foreign Patent Information - Cooperation Treaty

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The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is a treaty that provides a streamlined procedure for preserving the rights to file patent applications in most industrialized countries. The procedure entails filing a copy of a patent application with the PCT office and paying a PCT filing fee. This preserves the right to later file directly in countries (or regions in the case of Europe) designated in the PCT application form. The main reason for filing a PCT is to preserve future foreign patent rights until the need arises to pursue them further. The filing of a PCT delays the time for filing foreign applications, which allows time to assess the advantages or disadvantages of proceeding with full patent applications in foreign countries.