Patent Law Treaty (PLT)
The PLT aims at harmonizing national patent formalities throughout the world. Initially, a first draft Treaty contained provisions relating to substantive harmonization of patent applications and examination procedures, standards for obtaining a patent, and rights and remedies under a patent. During a Diplomatic Conference in 1991, divergent views on major issues became apparent, such as the issues of first-to-file and the grace period. In 1995, it was agreed that another approach for promoting harmonization, covering matters concerning the formality requirements of national and regional patent procedures, should be initiated by WIPO. Following this decision, the draft PLT has been discussed first in the Committee of Experts on the Patent Law Treaty, and, since 1998, in the Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP).
- Basic Features of the PLT [PDF]
- Patent Law Treaty, Regulations & Agreed Statements
- Diplomatic Conference Documents
- PLT Assembly
- Amendments of the PLT Regulations (entry into force on January 1, 2006)
- Implementation of the PLT
- Notifications in relation to Rule 8(2)(b) of the Regulations under the PLT [EN, FR, ES, AR, CN, RU]
After five years of discussions, a Diplomatic Conference, convened from May 11 to June 2, 2000, adopted the Patent Law Treaty on June 1, 2000. On June 2, 2000, 43 States signed the Treaty and 104 States, the European Patent Organisation (EPO), the Eurasian Patent Office (EAPO) and the African Regional Industrial Property Organization (ARIPO) signed the Final Act of the Treaty. The PLT was open for signature until June 1, 2001 and, as of today, 53 States and one intergovernmental organization have signed the Treaty. The PLT entered into force on April 28, 2005, that is, three months after ten States had deposited their instruments of ratification or accession with the Director General of WIPO (list of Contracting Parties to the PLT).
The PLT is designed to streamline and harmonize formal requirements set by national or regional Patent Offices for the filing of national or regional patent applications, the maintenance of patents and certain additional requirements related to patents or patent applications, as for example communications, representation or recordation of changes concerning patents and patent applications. Its provisions refer as much as possible to the provisions of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and its Regulations in order to keep the Treaty as simple as possible, and to avoid creating different international standards regarding patent formalities with respect to national and to international applications. The harmonization of procedures under national laws is expected to result in easier access to worldwide patent protection and cost reduction for applicants in those procedures. It should also reduce the administrative costs of Patent Offices of both industrialized and developing countries, the benefit of which could be passed on to applicants in the form of lower fees.