Biomedical Engineering Reference
an international search and a subsequent (not binding, optional) examination, fol-
lowed by grant by the national offices of the designated countries.
The PCT procedure is not a granting procedure, but in practice a procedure to
delay the entry into the national phases (where you will have the patent granted, if
patentability requirements are met).
A single filing will produce the same effects as a national application; also, the
possibility exists to designate regional patents, which means patents with validity
in a group of countries.
Currently there are four regional organizations:
• European Patent Ofice (EPO);
• Eurasian Patent Organization (EAPO);
• African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI);
• African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO).
PCT does not include the protection of industrial designs, trademarks and plant
varieties, which fall under other treaties or conventions.
The procedure is divided into three phases (Fig. 3.3 ):
• iling of an international application;
• the patentability search;
• demand (or preliminary examination).
The minimum requirements for obtaining a filing date are the following:
• at least one of the applicants must be a resident or national of a Contracting
• the application must be submitted in one of the languages of the procedure.
In addition, the application must contain at least:
• a statement that a PCT application is requested;
• the designation of States (all from 1 January 2004);
• the name of the applicant;
• a description;
• at least one claim.
Concerning the first phase, the application can be filed by any resident or national
of a contracting State (an Italian applicant can file an application either at the
UIBM or directly at WIPO or EPO offices).
The language used for the filing depends on the receiving Office (English,
French, German, Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Arabic and Spanish), provided that it
is compatible with that of the competent ISA ( International Searching Authority ).
The national Office performs a formal examination and forwards a copy thereof
to WIPO and to the office in charge of the search, which for residents in Italy is
the European Patent Office.
The latter drafts a search report (ISR—International Search Report; see Box 4),
where any prior art documents which have been retrieved are mentioned, and a
written opinion (WO— Written Opinion ).