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What are the Advantages & Disadvantages of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)?

What are the Advantages & Disadvantages of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)?
| Updated: Oct 21, 2021 | Category: Patent

In 1970, the Patent Cooperation Treaty was introduced to give economic & streamlined means for filing Patent Applications in various nations. As the value & scope of Patent Registration or Protection increase over time, the need for such a treaty has only been validated. However, as businesses move to seek International Patent Registration under PCT, the advantages and disadvantages of PCT have also emerged. Scroll down to check the advantages & disadvantages of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

What is Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)?

Before we discuss the advantages & disadvantages of PCT lets, understand the meaning of PCT. It’s a global IP (Intellectual Property) agreement that provides Patent protection in various nations via filing a single Patent application. The PCT is governed and regulated by the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation), which has more than 150 countries as signatories, which are also known as the PCT Contracting States.

The PCT makes it achievable to seek Patent Registration for an invention at the same time in each of a considerable number of nations by filing an international Patent application. Such Patent application may be filed by anyone who is a resident/national of a PCT Contracting State. It may usually be filed with the national Patent Office of the Contracting State of which the candidate is a resident/national or at the candidate’s option with the IB (International Bureau) of WIPO in Geneva.

Filing an application for Patent Registration under Patent Cooperation Treaty implies protecting legal protection for an invention or innovation under Patent Law in more than 150 nations at once. Foremost international corporations, research institutes & universities seek Patent protection through this treaty. It protects candidates against unintentional errors or mistakes which are far more likely to occur if a separate Patent application is filed in every nation of interest.

Need for Introducing Patent Cooperation Treaty:

  • Bring the world within reach;
  • It is efficiently used by the world’s big corporations, research institutions and universities when they seek International Patent Protection;
  • Gives robust grounds to the user for patenting decisions;
  • It eliminates major expenses and gives users with extra time to consider their different Patent granting options.

Basic Features of PCT System:

  • Recovery is executed by one office;
  • 148 nations and 4 regional Patent Systems;
  • Formal Examination is done by single office;
  • Global protection is done by one office;
  • Single application with statutory effect in all Patent Cooperation Treaty nations.

Advantages of Patent Cooperation Treaty

Following are some important advantages of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT):

  1. Proper Reasons for Patenting Decision: Once the applicant files an application for Patent protection under PCT, WIPO sends an international Patent Search Report and a perspective on the product’s patentability; both make obtaining a grant of a Patent in chosen nations considerably easier. The details also play an essential role in assessing the prospects of obtaining a Patent.
  2. Concurrent Patent Protection: When the Patent applicant files an application in the United States, it is likely to prevent the opportunities of obtaining Patent protection in other nations. That’s the area where the PCT plays an important role. The Patent Cooperation Treaty permits businesses to have concurrent Patent protection in the PCT Contracting States, including the United States (US).
  3. Time-Effective Process: Filing an individual Patent application in all the PCT states would require changing the application as per the rules & regulations of each member country. The process will be not only daunting but also time-consuming. Some of the Contracting States also have PCT-Patent Prosecution Highway Agreements[1] that enable even quicker processing.
  4. Complete Global Patent Search: When an applicant files a Patent application with WIPO under PCT, the organisation conducts an international Patent Search that enables candidates to determine whether the innovation can be patented around the globe. This information can considerably affect the decision of patenting the innovation.
  5. Chance to Change Patent Applications: Candidates get a chance to change a PCT application before entering national phase countries. Alternations can be made on a voluntary basis or to address the search & examination report which is issued by PCT.

Disadvantages of Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)

Following are some important disadvantages of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT):

  1. Patent Process is Expensive: The Patent Cooperation makes the process of Patent Registration a bit expensive as it requires an applicant to execute the Patent application separately in each nation. It also costs attorney fees in the global phase. But, the process can give encouraging and cost-effective solutions like streamlined prosecutions. But, PCT fee reductions are available when the Patent Cooperation Treaty application is filed digitally, or the candidates belonging to developing nations get a 90% decrease in the official filing fee.
  2. Limited Patent Coverage: You can get only utility Patents via Patent applications under the PCT. You can’t Patent a design via this process. The process also creates examination delays & it takes time to get a Patent through the PCT route. However, PCT gives you an extra 18 or 19 months to choose the nations of interest.


Patent Cooperation Treaty brought a massive revolution in the area of innovation for the inventor; due to this, PCT enjoyed great success & continued growth across the globe. PCT brought a revolution in the way through which Patents are obtained across the globe. The time delay feature of the PCT preserves user Patent options, delays costs, giving the user extra time to get financing & assess commercial, partnership & licensing chances.

Read our article:All You Need to Know About Drafting Patent Claims

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A legal writing enthusiast, a wanderer, and a zealous reader. After gaining a lot of knowledge about the diverse legal topics and developing research skills, Karan joined the league of legal content writers to deliver quality-rich blogs.

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