Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
As its name suggests, the Patent
Cooperation Treaty (PCT), which was signed at Washington on
June 1970, is an agreement for international
cooperation in the field of patents. By 01st
January 2006, 128 Contracting States had adhered to the PCT
(see Appendix 1- PDF version).
In fact, the PCT system is a patent
"filing" system, not a patent "granting" system and thus,
there is no "PCT patent". The PCT is largely a treaty for
rationalization and cooperation with regard to the filing,
searching and examination of patent applications and the
dissemination of the technical information contained therein.
It does not compete with but, in fact, complements the Paris
Convention. Indeed, the PCT is a special agreement under the
Paris Convention open only to States, which are also party to
the Paris Convention.
The principal objective of the PCT is to
simplify and to render more effective and more economical the
previously established means of applying in several countries
for protection for inventions. Moreover, the PCT is aimed to
facilitate and accelerate access by industries and other
interested sectors to technical information related to
inventions and to assist developing countries in gaining
access to technology.
Under the PCT route, the application
enjoys the duration of 31 months (or 30
months in some countries) computed from the priority
date or the international filing date to enter a certain
National Phase, which is quite long in comparison with the
duration of only 12 months to claim priority under the
traditional Paris Convention route. Thus, the applicant has
more time to deeply consider and properly decide whether or
not to continue with patent protection in certain countries
for the sake of his own benefit.
Expense and Energy:
Through PCT system, protection of an
invention can be simultaneously obtained in several countries,
which results in the saving of expenses and energy.
What's more, the abundance of time under
the PCT route allows the applicant to generate cash flow from
the invention to support the ongoing costs of obtaining
granted patents in a number of countries and helps the
applicant make sound decisions against continuing with patent
protection in certain countries (in case the applicant sees
no benefit to continue so) and whereby, to save expenses
and energy in the subsequent application prosecution
Vietnam officially became a member of the
PCT on 10th March 1993.
The competent receiving Office for
nationals and residents of Vietnam is the National Office of
Industrial Property of Vietnam or the International Bureau of
WIPO at the choice of the applicant.
The duration for PCT international
applications to enter Vietnam National Phase is 31
months computed from the priority date (see Appendix 2 - PDF
The total fee for filing a PCT
international application is estimated at 2,000.00 US$.
However, a notable thing is that under certain circumstances,
some reductions may be available for the applicant (as
indicated on the PCT website at: www.wipo.int/pct/en/fees/fee_reduction.pdf