When to Use the Patent Cooperation Treaty—and Why It’s So Popular
The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) enables applicants to file one application, called an international application, in a standardized format in an authorized Receiving Office, and have that patent application treated as a regular national patent application in all Member Countries to the PCT. The PCT also provides for the establishment of an international search report and written opinion and publication of the international application after 18 months from the earliest priority date.
Because an international filing pursuant to the PCT allows applicants to defer making a decision where to ultimately seek a patent for 30 months from their initial filing date (i.e., the earlier priority date for the application), the PCT is viewed as quite favorable, particularly for applicants who do not know whether they will ultimately want or need broad based international protection. Applicants can decide later after the invention and the market has developed and matured whether they need or want a patent in a particular country or countries.
Source: IP Watchdog