Why is the Patent Cooperation Treaty Important to Inventors?

April 3rd, 2023 / Victoria

The Patent Cooperation Treaty: What is it and why is it Important?

Imagine that you have just invented a great, new product. An original idea that nobody else has thought of, and while you want to share your new idea with the world, you are afraid that somebody else will steal it and claim credit for it before you have the chance to show the world that it was your invention. Your first step would be to seek out a patent, granted by the government, which provides you with exclusive rights to exclude others from selling your invention for a certain number of years.

Here’s the problem: the entire world is not under the authority of that one government. What is to stop people from different countries catching wind of your invention, stealing it for themselves, and making money off of your idea? This is the exact problem that led to the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

History of the Patent Cooperation Treaty 

In the early summer of 1970 from May 25th to June 19th, the Washington Diplomatic Conference held meetings with representatives from several other countries to determine the most effective way to go about allowing people all over the world to file a single patent application that would be held up internationally and preserve rights in many countries simultaneously. On the final day of the conference, they signed the Patent Cooperation Treaty, which went into effect eight years later on June 1st, 1978 with the filing of the first international patent applications.

Although in 1978 there were only 18 contracting states associated with the PCT, today there are more than 150 Contracting States, according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. While this may not encompass the entire world, it consists of almost every large-economy nation in the world, allowing for “international patent application filings” to, for all sake and purposes, be attainable.

Why is the PCT Important?

Here at the PCT Learning Center, an online resource designed to assist with learning how to file international patent applications and industrial design registrations, our goal is to educate people on international Intellectual Property (I.P.) rights. So, a question that we answer frequently is: Why is the PCT important? Not only was the signing of this treaty important for the sake of protecting ideas on an international level, but it also helped build protectable  international trade. Plus, it benefits all of the inventors trying to patent their ideas because instead of needing to file multiple different patent applications to start the protection process for their ideas in different places, they can instead file a single international patent application, preserving rights across the globe, saving them time and money.

Learn More with PCT Training

If you are interested in international patent application filing, then the more you know about the topic the better off you will be. Click here to register for a PCT training course. We offer free introductory courses and a variety of paid courses, all designed to educate you and empower you to make informed decisions relating to your invention and starting the international protection process with an  international patent application.

If you have questions for us, you can send us a message and we will respond as soon as we can.

Thanks for reading, and best of luck with your inventions!