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Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) was concluded in 1970 in order to reduce the cost of foreign patenting and to simplify the procedure for obtaining patent protection in various countries. The administration of the PCT Treaty is performed by the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Geneva, Switzerland.
PCT provides for the possibility of obtaining patents in the countries parties to the PCT (list of countries) through the filing of one "international" application (PCT application). PCT regulates formal requirements that any international application must met. At the same time, PCT does not provide for the grant of an "international patent".
The consequences of filing an international application in each State party to the PCT are the same and equivalent to the consequences of filing a national application with the national patent office of the relevant State.
In accordance with the PCT, the patent procedure includes the international and national phases.
The filing of an international application with the National Center of Intellectual Property initiates the international phase for the applicants of the Republic of Belarus. After the formal examination, the application is sent to the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization. The International Searching Authority chosen by the applicant (for applicants of the Republic of Belarus, these are the Federal Institute for Industrial Property, the Russian Federation, or the European Patent Office) conducts an international patent search. An international search report and a written opinion on the patentability of the claimed technical solution are sent to the applicant, who, after reading their content, may decide on the appropriateness of further processing of the application.
The international application is published no later than 18 months from the date of its filing. At the request of the applicant an international preliminary examination can be carried out on the international application.
Prior to the expiration of 30 or 31 months from the date of priority of the international application (the period is established by national law), an applicant who chooses to obtain national (or regional) patents in the designated states shall transfer the international application to the national phase. Thus, the applicant has quite a lot of time to draw final conclusions about the advisability and the possibility of patenting in certain countries of the world.
The procedure for entering the national phase is completed by filing a Belarusian or Russian translation of the PCT application, submitting a power of attorney in the name of the Belarusian patent attorney, and by paying the prescribed national fees.