The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is an international intellectual property treaty that was signed in 1970. The primary feature of the PCT is that it sets up a unified procedure for filing patent applications to protect inventions across all of the States that are signatories to the PCT.
A single patent application is filed with a receiving office. A search is then conducted by the International Searching Authority. Optionally, preliminary prosecution can occur as well.
A PCT application will not, in and of itself, result in the issuance of a patent. Rather, the PCT allows for the filing of a common patent application in all contracting States. The application is then examined and issued according to the law of each State.
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