Malta Accedes to WIPO's Patent Cooperation Treaty
Geneva, December 12, 2006
Press Updates UPD/2006/283
Malta became the 134rd contracting state of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) when it deposited its instrument of accession at WIPO on December 1, 2006. The Treaty will enter into force for Malta on March 1, 2007.
The accession by Malta means that in any international application filed on or after March 1, 2007, Malta (country code: MT) 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 March 1, 2007. Also, as of that date, nationals and residents of Malta will themselves be able to file PCT applications.
With the accession of Malta, the 134 contracting states of the PCT are the following:
Antigua and Barbuda
Czech Republic Democratic People's
Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg
Malta (from 1 March
Papua New Guinea
Republic of Korea
Republic of Moldova
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Vincent and the
Syrian Arab Republic
Trinidad and Tobago
United Arab Emirates
United Republic of
United States of
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 countries which meet certain criteria are entitled to a 75% reduction of certain PCT fees in respect of international applications filed under the PCT. For details, see https://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 page on WIPO's PatentScope website (https://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: firstname.lastname@example.org), or contact the Media Relations & Public Affairs Section at WIPO (telephone: (41-22) 338 81 61 or 338 95 47; facsimile: (41-22) 338 88 10; e-mail: email@example.com).