The PCT application procedure comprises filing, international search, international publication, supplementary international search, international preliminary examination, and national phase.
All PCT patent applications are subject to search and examination. In the first phase, Chapter I, the International Searching Authority searches, ‘examines’ and issues a preliminary, non-binding opinion on patentability. The applicant does not respond/interact with the Examiner.
There is then an optional stage, Chapter II, where the applicant does interact with the Examiner and requests a Demand to request International Preliminary Examination and also request a supplementary international search.
1. List of countries with a 31-month deadline from the priority date
There are exceptions to the deadlines stated above – so please refer to the important notes below.
If Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and/or the United Kingdom are designated in an EP patent, see European Patent Organisation for the applicable time limit.
If Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Gambia, Kenya, Liberia, Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda, Sudan, Sao Tome, and Principe, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and/or Zimbabwe are designated in an ARIPO patent, see African Regional Intellectual Property Organization for the applicable time limit.
If Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, and/or Turkmenistan are designated in a Eurasian patent, see Eurasian Patent Organisation for the applicable time limit.
In the absence of information from the respective National Office concerned, the time limits shown for Angola, Dominica, Grenada, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Libya, Montenegro, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Sao Tome and Principe, Samoa, and/or Tunisia are those which would normally apply under PCT Articles 22(1) and 39(1)(a). If the respective National Office decides to apply longer time limits, that information will be published in the PCT Newsletter.
The African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation acts as the designated office for Swaziland which does not act in the capacity of the designated office.
The time limit for Indonesia may be extended provided an additional fee for late entry into the national phase is paid.
For Belize at Chapter II, the deadline may be extended by the written request of the applicant.
For China, the Philippines, and/or Turkey the time limit may be extended to the number of months identified in the ( ) provided an additional fee for late entry into the national phase is paid.
Switzerland acts as the designated office for Lichtenstein which does not act in the capacity of the designated office.
The European Patent Organisation acts as the designated office for Belgium, Cyprus, France, Greece, Ireland, Lithuania, Latvia, Monaco, Malta, Netherlands, Slovenia, San Marino which do not act in the capacity of a designated office.
Luxembourg and the United Republic of Tanzania have notified WIPO that it does not yet apply the 30-month time limit for entering the national phase.
African Intellectual Property Organization acts as the designated office for Burkina, Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Georgia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Republic of Congo, Senegal, and Togo which does not act in the capacity of the designated office.
For Serbia, the time limit may be extended by 30 days provided an additional fee for late entry into the national phase is paid.
For Singapore, the time limit may be extended by up to 18 months provided the prescribed fee for entry into the national phase is paid.
For Canada, up to 12 months after the 30-month deadline a request for reinstatement of rights can be made provided the fee for reinstatement is paid and the requirements for reinstatement outlined in subsection 154(3) of the Canadian Patent Rules are met.
For Italy, the 30-month deadline applies to international applications filed on or after 1st July 2020.
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