International applications and national security considerations

Some PCT Contracting States have national legislation which restricts the filing of international applications with other Offices for reasons of national security where:

  • applications are filed by nationals of the relevant State;
  • applications are filed by residents of the relevant State; and/or
  • the invention was made in the relevant State.

In most cases, you are considered to have permission to file with another Office if either you have filed an application for the same invention at the relevant national Office a certain amount of time previously (which varies from Office to Office) and have not received a security notice stating that you should not file elsewhere, or if you have explicitly requested and been granted permission.

For your international application, this means that if you need, but do not yet have the necessary permission:

  • you should file directly with your national Office, and
  • you should not use ePCT to prepare your international application, since the draft details are held on servers operated by the International Bureau, rather than your computer or the servers of the relevant national Office.

Known filing restrictions

The International Bureau is aware of filing restrictions for reasons of national security in the following PCT Contracting States (further details, where available, appear in Annex B of the PCT Applicant’s Guide).

StateRestrictionsLegislation and notes
AM Armenia Inventions made in the country Law on Inventions, Utility Models and Industrial Designs, Article 77
AZ Azerbaijan Applications containing State secrets Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Patents, Article 25
BE Belgium  Applications by residents Applies to applications which may be of interest for national defense.
BG Bulgaria Applications by residents Applies to applications which have been classified by the defense authorities of Bulgaria as being of a confidential nature.
CN China Inventions made in the country Patent Law of the People's Republic of China, Articles 4 and 20, Implementing Regulations of the Patent Law of the People's Republic of China, Rules 8 and 9
CY Cyprus  Inventions made in the country  
DE Germany Applications containing State secrets Patent Law, Section 52 and Law on International Patent Treaties, Art. III Sec. 2
DK Denmark Applications by residents

Applies to applications relating to war materials or the manufacture of war materials.

Patents Act, Section 70 and the Consolidate Secret Patents Act

ES Spain Applications by nationals and residents

Unless priority of an earlier application filed at the SPTO is claimed.

Law No. 11/1986 of March 20, 1986 on Patents (as last amended by Law No. 14/2011 of June 1, 2011), Art. 122 and Royal Decree
No. 1123/1995
, Art. 3.

FI Finland Applications by residents Act on Inventions of Importance to the Defence of the Country (551/1967), Section 2 
FR France Applications by natural or legal persons having a residence or
principal place of business in France

Unless priority of an earlier application filed at the INPI is claimed.

Intellectual Property Code, Article L 614-18.

GB United Kingdom Applications by residents

Applies to applications relating to military technology or whose publication might prejudice national security or safety of the public.  For more details about applications relating to military technology or whose publication might prejudice national security.

Patents Act 1977, Section 23

GR Greece Applications by nationals

Unless priority of an earlier application filed at the OBI is claimed.

Presidential Decree No. 16/1991 Implementing Regulations of the Patent Cooperation Treaty as ratified by Law No. 1883/1990, Article 3, par. 2 and Law No. 4325/1963 on the Inventions Concerning the National Defence, Art. 1 and 2.

IL Israel  Applications by nationals and residents

Applies to applications the subject of which is weaponry or ammunition, or which is otherwise of military value.

Patents Law, 5727-1967, Article 98

IN India Applications by residents

Unless a written permit has been granted following a request on Form 25 and payment of INR 4,000 (INR 1,000 for individuals) or unless an application for a patent for the same invention has been made in India and at least 6 weeks have elapsed without a notice from Controller prohibiting publication or communication of the application.

Patents Act, Section 39.

IT Italy Applications by residents

Unless the international application claims the priority of a national application filed in Italy more than 90 days previously and such application has not been made subject of the official secrets regulation.

Industrial Property Code (Legislative Decree No. 30 of February 10, 2005, Article 198(1))

KR Republic of Korea Applications by residents   

Applies to applications which may be of interest for national defense.

Patent Act, Art. 41

LU Luxembourg   Only applies to applications which may be of interest for national defense.
MY Malaysia Applications by residents Patents Act 1983 (Act 291), Section 23A
NO Norway Inventions made in the country
Applications by residents
Inventions owned by residents

Applies to applications relating to military technology or whose publication might prejudice national security

Patents Act, Section 71

Act on Inventions of Importance to the Defence of the Realm (Act No. 8 of June 26, 1953 as last amended on January 1, 2002)

PT Portugal Applications by residents Industrial Property Code, Article 91
RU Russian Federation Inventions made in the country Civil Code of the Russian Federation, Article 1395
SE Sweden Inventions made in the country
Applications by residents
Inventions owned by Swedish companies

Applies to applications concerning defense inventions.

The Defense Inventions Act, Section 4

SG Singapore Applications by residents Patents Act, Section 34
TR Turkey Applications by residents

Applies to applications concerning a subject of significance for national security.

Decree-Law No. 551 Pertaining to the Protection of Patent Rights, Article 128

US United States of America Inventions made in the country Title 35, United States Code, Patents, Sections 181 and 184-188. See also 37 CFR 5.11-5.20.  For more details about applications for foreign filing licenses.  For using ePCT-Filing to prepare a request form package for upload to EFS-Web, see the article in the PCT Newsletter, May 2016 (No. 05/2016).
VN Vietnam Applications by residents Unless written authorization from the National Office of Industrial Property (Viet Nam) has been obtained or unless an application for a patent for the same invention has been filed at that Office.