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When must PCT or WIPO patents be filed?

A few of the visitors to this blog have asked when is the latest you can file your PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) application. This is not legal advice and I request that you always check with a lawyer but according to this link...

http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/documents/1800_1842.htm

... from the USPTO you have 12 months from your FULL national application to file your PCT application without losing your priority date.

So as far as I can tell this is how it is....

  • You have up to 12 months from when you first complete your invention to file a provisional.
  • Then you have 12 months from your provisional filing in which to file your full application (at least this is so in the US.
  • The according to the link above you have 12 months to file your PCT application.
Remeber your PCT application is only that... it is an application, NOT a patent in itself. All the PCT does is maintain a priority date while you explore in which individual countries you will proceed to do a full patent application. I have not researched the additional windows for each country but if you have got this far it is about time that you start using the services of a good international patent lawyer.

Ric's note: For such a common question I was surprised how long it took to find documentation on the subject... I kind of new this from experience but still it is something that should be readily available on the net or at least wikipedia.
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