When Should Indian Companies File PCT Applications?
The ‘Patent Cooperation Treaty’ is an international treaty that facilitates the filing of patent applications in multiple jurisdictions with a single application. A PCT application is a type of international patent document that falls under the jurisdiction of the PCT and enables applicants to file and obtain patents in more than one country with a single set of original patent documents. An Indian applicant may file PCT applications for protecting their inventions in other countries at an early stage. The following are some instances when you should consider filing a PCT application for your invention:
When you are planning to file for local patents in more than one country
If you are planning to file for local patents in more than one country, it may be advisable to file a PCT application in relation to the invention. Filing a PCT application gives you the option to decide on the countries you wish to file, and file applications in countries of choice by retaining your priority date. It gives you 30 or more months to make your decision on the final National Patent filings.
When you want to keep your options open when and where to file for a patent in the future
If you want to keep your options open when and where to file for a patent in the future, you should file a PCT application. You may wish to do so, if the existing situation is not favorable for commercializing your invention in a particular country. By filing a PCT application, you can delay the filing of a patent application in a particular country by 30 months or more. If, on the other hand, the situation improves at a later stage, you can file a patent application relating to the same invention in that country within the timeline.
When you want to buy time for conducting your own market research
If you want to buy time for conducting your own market research to determine the commercial viability of your invention in a particular country, you should file a PCT application. Once the PCT application has been filed, you will have time to conduct your own market research and decide whether you wish to file a patent application in that country.
When you do not have the budget to file in multiple countries
If you do not have the budget to file in multiple countries, you should consider filing a PCT application. You may be able to file a PCT application on a shoestring budget. Filing a PCT application gives you around two and a half years to gather financial resources for filing Patents in multiple countries.
When you have made a conscious decision to commercialize your invention in other countries
When you have made a conscious decision to commercialize your invention in other countries by selling/offering your products or services, or through licensing, franchising, or joint venture agreement, you should definitely file a PCT application. It will be too late, and difficult to obtain patent protection in those countries later, if you don’t file a PCT application at the right time. However, it would be wise to consult a lawyer, before filing the PCT application, to ensure that the application is drafted correctly and includes an accurate description of your invention. Your lawyer will also advise you on the costs of filing the PCT application, and whether you need to file the application in English or in the local language of the country where you wish to obtain patent protection.
Filing a PCT application has several advantages. It helps in your commercialization plans, giving time to decide on National Patent filings, allows you to arrange finances, gives time for Market research, and provides cost advantages. You may however want to consult a Patent attorney before making your PCT and Patent filing decision as an Attorney will be able to help you devise the best Patent strategy for your company.
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