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Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)

Subject: Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2006 10:49:51 +0700




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Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)


As its name suggests, the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), which was signed at Washington on June 1970, is an agreement for international cooperation in the field of patents. By 01st January 2006, 128 Contracting States had adhered to the PCT (see Appendix 1- PDF version).

In fact, the PCT system is a patent "filing" system, not a patent "granting" system and thus, there is no "PCT patent". The PCT is largely a treaty for rationalization and cooperation with regard to the filing, searching and examination of patent applications and the dissemination of the technical information contained therein. It does not compete with but, in fact, complements the Paris Convention. Indeed, the PCT is a special agreement under the Paris Convention open only to States, which are also party to the Paris Convention.

The principal objective of the PCT is to simplify and to render more effective and more economical the previously established means of applying in several countries for protection for inventions. Moreover, the PCT is aimed to facilitate and accelerate access by industries and other interested sectors to technical information related to inventions and to assist developing countries in gaining access to technology.



Under the PCT route, the application enjoys the duration of 31 months (or 30 months in some countries) computed from the priority date or the international filing date to enter a certain National Phase, which is quite long in comparison with the duration of only 12 months to claim priority under the traditional Paris Convention route. Thus, the applicant has more time to deeply consider and properly decide whether or not to continue with patent protection in certain countries for the sake of his own benefit.

Expense and Energy:

Through PCT system, protection of an invention can be simultaneously obtained in several countries, which results in the saving of expenses and energy. 

What's more, the abundance of time under the PCT route allows the applicant to generate cash flow from the invention to support the ongoing costs of obtaining granted patents in a number of countries and helps the applicant make sound decisions against continuing with patent protection in certain countries (in case the applicant sees no benefit to continue so) and whereby, to save expenses and energy in the subsequent application prosecution steps.    


Vietnam officially became a member of the PCT on 10th March 1993

The competent receiving Office for nationals and residents of Vietnam is the National Office of Industrial Property of Vietnam or the International Bureau of WIPO at the choice of the applicant.

The duration for PCT international applications to enter Vietnam National Phase is 31 months computed from the priority date (see Appendix 2 - PDF version).

The total fee for filing a PCT international application is estimated at 2,000.00 US$. However, a notable thing is that under certain circumstances, some reductions may be available for the applicant (as indicated on the PCT website at: www.wipo.int/pct/en/fees/fee_reduction.pdf ). 



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