International Patent Protection
International patent protection is available to all inventions that have not been publicly disclosed prior to the filing of a U.S. patent application. The three stages of international protection are outlined in the timeline below.
To begin international patent protection a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application must be filed no later than one year following the filing of the related U.S. application. The PCT application is quite often the same application that was filed in the U.S. and is afforded the Priority Date of the U.S. application. This first stage is also referred to as Chapter I.
During the first stage, a search is made to reveal inventions similar to what is in the application. An International Search Report is generated and the application is published.
The second stage, referred to as Chapter II, begins no later than eighteen months after the Priority Date and is a request for International Preliminary Examination. The PCT Office examines the application and produces a Written Opinion as to its patentability. If the Written Opinion calls for a response to points that it has raised, then an Amendment is filed. Receipt of the International Preliminary Examination Report concludes the prosecution of the PCT application.
The third stage is the filing of National Stage Applications. This involves filing in individual countries where patent protection is desired. This must be done no later than thirty months following the Priority Date. Once these filings have been accomplished, then the individual country carries on with further prosecution according to their respective regulations.
Making the decision to go forward with international patent protection is not one to be taken lightly as the costs involved are substantial. Generally speaking, KSURF does not pursue the third stage of international protection without having a licensee to fund the filings.