World Intellectual Property Organization

Sao Tome and Principe Accedes to WIPO’s Patent Cooperation Treaty

Geneva, April 18, 2008
UPD/2008/302

Sao Tome and Principe became the 139th contracting state of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) when it deposited its instrument of accession at WIPO on April 3, 2008. The Treaty will enter into force for Sao Tome and Principe on July 3, 2008.
 
The accession by Sao Tome and Principe means that in any international application filed on or after July 3, 2008, Sao Tome and Principe (country code: ST) will automatically be designated, and as it will be bound by Chapter II of the Treaty, will automatically be elected in any demand for international preliminary examination filed in respect of an international application filed on or after July 3, 2008. Also, as of that date, nationals and residents of Sao Tome and Principe will themselves be able to file PCT applications.
 
With the accession of Sao Tome and Principe, the 139 contracting states of the PCT are the following:
 
Albania
Algeria
Angola
Antigua and Barbuda
Armenia
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bahrain
Barbados
Belarus
Belgium
Belize
Benin
Bosnia and
 Herzegovina
Botswana
Brazil
Bulgaria
Burkina Faso
Cameroon
Canada
Central African
 Republic
Chad
China
Colombia
Comoros
Congo
Costa Rica
Côte d’Ivoire
Croatia
Cuba
Cyprus
Czech Republic Democratic People’s
 Republic of Korea
Denmark
Dominica
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
Egypt
El Salvador
Equatorial Guinea
Estonia
Finland
France
Gabon
Gambia
Georgia
Germany
Ghana
Greece
Grenada
Guatemala
Guinea
Guinea-Bissau
Honduras
Hungary
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Japan
Kazakhstan
Kenya
Kyrgyzstan
Lao People’s
 Democratic
 Republic
Latvia
Lesotho
Liberia
Libyan Arab
 Jamahiriya
Liechtenstein
Lithuania Luxembourg
Madagascar
Malawi
Malaysia
Mali
Malta
Mauritania
Mexico
Monaco
Mongolia
Montenegro
Morocco
Mozambique
Namibia
Netherlands
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Niger
Nigeria
Norway
Oman
Papua New Guinea
Philippines
Poland
Portugal
Republic of Korea
Republic of Moldova
Romania
Russian Federation
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the
 Grenadines
San Marino
Sao Tome and
  Principe (from
 July 3, 2008)
Senegal
Serbia
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
South Africa
Spain
Sri Lanka
Sudan
Swaziland
Sweden
Switzerland
Syrian Arab Republic
Tajikistan
The former
 Yugoslav Republic
 of Macedonia
Togo
Trinidad and Tobago
Tunisia
Turkey
Turkmenistan
Uganda
Ukraine
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
United Republic of
 Tanzania
United States of
 America
Uzbekistan
Viet Nam
Zambia
Zimbabwe
 
Advantages of the PCT System
 
The PCT system offers a number of advantages for patent applicants, national patent offices and the general public.
 
a) Benefits for Patent Applicants
 
Some of the most important advantages offered by the PCT to patent applicants, include the following:
 
The PCT offers applicants seeking patent protection in multiple countries a more user-friendly, cost-effective and efficient option. By filing one “international” patent application under the PCT with one patent office (the “receiving office”) in one language, an applicant can seek patent protection for an invention simultaneously in each of a large number of countries. This is because the effect of such an international application in each “designated State” is the same as if a national patent application had been filed with the national patent office of that country. Without the PCT, an applicant would generally be required to file separate national patent applications with the office of each country in which patent protection is sought. 
 
In using the PCT, applicants are allowed at least 18 months more time (in relation to most designated Offices) than if they filed directly with individual national patent offices, to decide whether and in which countries they wish to pursue patent protection. This effectively delays, by the same number of months, the costs associated with translating the application, paying national fees and appointing local patent agents. These advantages are not available if patent applications are filed directly with individual national offices.
 
Under the PCT, applicants will obtain an international search report and a written opinion of the International Searching Authority concerning the potential patentability of the invention and, optionally, an international preliminary examination report. The information contained in these documents enables applicants to better evaluate whether it is worthwhile to continue with their patent application before they are required to pay the full range of costs involved. Applicants also benefit from the uniform formality requirements and centralized international publication provided by the PCT system.
 
Applicants who are nationals and residents of Sao Tome and Principe (and other countries which meet certain criteria) are entitled to a 75%[1] reduction of certain PCT fees in respect of international applications filed under the PCT. For details, see http://www.wipo.int/pct/en/fees/fee_reduction.pdf
 
b) Benefits for National Patent Offices and the National Economy
 
PCT membership gives better access to the national patent systems in multiple countries. As the system offers a more user-friendly and cost-effective option for applicants seeking patent protection in multiple countries, PCT membership will normally result in an increase in the number of patent applications filed and a corresponding increase in revenues for the national patent office. PCT membership may also result in reduced publication costs for those national offices which recognize the international publication of PCT applications for the purposes of national law. 
 
The PCT streamlines the administrative tasks required to process international patent applications and as such, simplifies the operations of national offices, improves efficiency and generates cost-savings. By the time a patent application filed under the PCT reaches the national patent office for the final determination of whether to grant a patent, it will have been examined as to form by the receiving office, searched by the International Searching Authority and in some cases, examined by an International Preliminary Examining Authority. As a result, the national search and/or examination procedures associated with the processing of patent applications can be considerably reduced or eliminated, and the national office can deal with a larger number of patent applications with the available resources.

 

c) Benefits for the General Public
 
The main advantage of the PCT to the broader public lies in the fact that the system facilitates and accelerates access to up-to-date technological information on inventions. This results from the international publication of PCT applications (including the content of the international search reports) and the provision, free of charge, of copies of all published international applications to the national office of the contracting state which may then publicly disseminate that information. These published materials constitute an invaluable source of information on the latest technological developments. On the basis of this
information, applicants are better placed to evaluate the patentability of their claimed invention. Access to this information can also serve to stimulate domestic inventive activity which, in turn, can result in increased investment and technology transfer.
 
The public also benefits from increased levels of confidence since many PCT applications have been subjected to both an international search and an international preliminary examination, and thus any patents granted on the basis of such international applications will provide a solid basis for investment and transfer of technologies.
 
For more information about the PCT, please see the PCT Resources page on WIPO’s Patentscope® website (http://www.wipo.int/pct/en/index.html), contact the PCT Information Service (telephone: (41-22) 338 83 38; facsimile: (41-22) 338 83 39; e-mail: pct.infoline@wipo.int). 

  [1] 90% with effect from July 1, 2008.

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