Improved Technology Searches Online

Geneva, April 6, 2006
Press Releases PR/2006/443

The wealth of technological information contained in international patent applications, a prime vector for technology transfer and innovation promotion, will be more easily accessible as a result of improvements made by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to its online database, PatentScope ( The upgrade will go live on April 6, 2006.

Over 1.2 million international applications under WIPO's Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), representing the most important technological advances of the past twenty years, are available in fully searchable form for free consultation by all through the PatentScope service.

In addition, WIPO has discontinued paper publications and now makes all information about international patent applications filed under the PCT available in electronic form on the Internet. The PCT, the cornerstone of the international patent system, offers a rapid, flexible and cost-effective way to obtain patent protection in up to 128 countries.

PatentScope is a valuable technical resource as new technologies are often disclosed for the first time as international patent applications. The patent applications filed under the PCT system and, therefore, accessible through the PatentScope service, are typically those that inventors consider to be the most valuable and therefore worth patenting internationally.

The upgraded Patentscope service will now provide access to international applications in full text format on the day they are published. The information may be searched by entering keywords, names of applicants, categories used in the international patent classification and many other search criteria, thereby making the system significantly more accessible. Complete documents may be printed or downloaded, free of charge.

Together with this patent documentation, PatentScope gives access to important information on the status of an international patent application. In particular, the written opinion or international preliminary report on patentability gives an indication of the value of the patent application. And, where available, WIPO makes available the information about the countries in which the applicant has requested national processing, and where the patent may eventually be granted.


The PCT offers inventors and industry an advantageous route for obtaining patent protection internationally. By filing one "international" patent application under the PCT, protection of an invention can be sought simultaneously in each of a large number of countries. Both applicants and patent offices of PCT member states benefit from the uniform formality requirements, the international search and preliminary examination reports, and the centralized international publication provided by the PCT system. The national patent granting procedure and the related expenses are postponed, in the majority of cases, by up to 18 months (or even longer in the case of some offices) as compared with the traditional patent system. By this time, the applicant will have received important value-added information concerning the likelihood of obtaining patent protection as well as potential commercial interest in that invention.

The growth rate in the filing of PCT applications has been especially significant during the last decade. It took 18 years from the beginning of PCT operations in 1978 to reach 250,000 total applications, but only four years to double that figure (500,000), and another four to double it again (1,000,000). In 2005, over 134,000 PCT applications were filed.

For further information, please contact the Media Relations and Public Affairs Section at WIPO: Tel: (+41 22) 338 81 61 or (+41 22) 338 95 47; E-mail:, Fax: (+41 22) 338 82 80.