When you are filing a patent, the best approach is to cover the widest possible market area. In 1970, the Patent Cooperation Treaty was a way to protect inventions in all of its contracting states. This can be done with a single application in the language of the applicant's home country. At the present time, there are 142 contracting states that are members. This includes all industrial nations excluding Argentina and Taiwan.
There is no such thing as a multinational patent, but by obtaining this patent recognition with the PCT organization, your invention can be covered in all participating countries. To approve or deny your patent application is the prerogative of each member state.
The first step in applying is to file your international application with an authorized receiving office. After the application is on file, a translated version to other languages may be requested in the international patent search about your invention. One of the requirements to file an application is that the inventor must be a resident of one of the participating member states and use the receiving office in their country. If preferred, any citizen of a member state can also file an application in the general receiving office at the International Bureau in Geneva, Switzerland.
After 1 and 1/2 years from the filing date, the international application is published by the International Bureau at the WIPO in one of the ten basic languages which include Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. 2 and 1/2 years after the filing, the international phase ends and the national and regional phase begins for acceptance. This is when the filing a patent can finally be accepted by the member states.
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