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The European Patent Office (EPO) is a group of countries that collectively agree to accept and issue the same application that is filed in any one of the countries. There are currently over 30 countries that are members of the EPO.
We work with a number of law firms around the world to file patent applications internationally.
Our Corona office can handle your PCT Application, which allows a person or company to file a singe application and receive an early examination or Search Report. If the search report identifies a patentable invention then international countries usually accept the search report and will issue a patent when filed in those countries. The rules and fees for each country vary. We will contract with a law firm in each foreign country for prosecution. There are about 150 countries that are members of the PCT with additional countries being added.
In general, all US applications can be filed internationally. The filing fee for filing an application in the PCT office is about $4,000 to 5,000.
Chapter I includes the filing of an international application, an international search, publication and national phase entry into designated countries within 30 months of the priority date. Member states are “designated” for national phase entry.
Chapter I of the PCT allows for centralized filing and searching of a single international application. One or more member countries are designated for national phase entry when filing a PCT application in the Receiving Office of a member country. The PCT application may also claim priority to an application for the same invention filed within 12 months of the PCT filing date. After the International Searching Authority (ISA) conducts an international search, the International Bureau distributes copies of the PCT application and search report to each designated national patent office. The applicant may one-time amend the claims of the international application (Article 19 amendment). The application and search report are published 18 months after the priority date. The applicant must complete the requirements for entering the national stage by the expiration of 30 months from the priority date. Substantive examination is then carried out by each of the designated national patent offices in accordance with their respective national laws.
Chapter II is optional and includes international preliminary examination and national phase entry into elected countries within 30 months of the priority date. [dialogue with examiner and amendments possible before IPRP issues. Under Chapter II, member states are “elected” to receive the International Preliminary Examination Report (IPER). The applicant has an opportunity to consider the IPER before making a decision about entering the national phase in each elected country.
An applicant may file a “demand” to have its application examined by an International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA). The examining authority prepares an IPER, including a non-binding Written Opinion as to novelty, inventive step (unobviousness) and industrial applicability (utility) of the invention.
The applicant may amend the claims, the description and the drawings (Article 34 Amendment), without adding new matter. The IPEA examiner examines the application and issues a Written Opinion. The applicant can respond
to the Written Opinion. An IPER, and the applicant must then enter the national phase of each elected state within 30 months of the priority date.
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