Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)

The Patent Cooperation Treaty is a treaty among currently 137 countries around the world.  Pursuant to the PCT, the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, administers the requirements of the PCT.  Several Receiving Offices (RO) have been established to receive patent applications under the PCT and process them.  The United States Patent & Trademark Office is one such RO.  By processing a single application, many administrative matters can be taken care of prior to the entry into the National Phase of an individual country.

The RO performs searches and provides initial opinions, and also may provide examinations related to the claims of the patent application.  The examination and opinions may carry some weight when the patent is eventually filed in a foreign country.