On 7th September 1998, India deposited its instrument of accession to the PCT and on 7th December 1998 thus became a member of the PCT, as the 98th Contracting State of PCT. Furthermore, nationals and residents of India are entitled to file international applications for patents under PCT at Receiving Office at Patent Office at Delhi.
Principal Objectives of the PCT
The principal objective of the PCT is to simplify and to render more effective and more economical-in the interests of the users of the patent system and the offices that have responsibility for administering it-the previously established means of applying in several countries for patent protection for inventions. Before the introduction of the PCT system, virtually the only means by which protection of an invention could be obtained in several countries was to file a separate application in each country; these applications, each being dealt within isolation, involved repetition of the work of the filing and examination in each country.
• Establishes an international system which enables the filing, with a single patent Office (the "Receiving Office"), of a single application (the "International Application") in one language having effect in each of the countries which are party to the PCT which the applicant names ("designates") in his application;
• Provides for the formal examination of the International Application by a single patent Office, the Receiving Office;
• Subjects each International Application to an international search which results in a report citing the relevant prior art (mainly published patent documents relating to previous inventions) which may have to be taken into account in deciding whether the invention is patentable; that report is made available first to the applicant and is later published;
• Provides for centralized international publication of International Applications with the related international search reports, as well as their communication to the designated Offices; and
• Provides the option of an international preliminary examination of the International Application, which gives to the Offices, that has to decide whether or not to grant a patent, and to the applicant, a report containing an opinion as to whether the claimed invention meets certain international criteria for patentability. The procedure described in the preceding paragraph, comparing it with the traditional procedure, is illustrated by two
timelines such as chapter I and chapter II of PCT. It is commonly called the "International Phase" to describe the first part of the patenting procedure, whereas one speaks of the "National Phase" to describe the last part of the patent granting procedure which, as explained in paragraph above, which is the task of the designated Offices, that is, the national Offices of, or Regional offices acting for the countries which have been designated in the International Application. (In PCT terminology, a reference to "national" Office, "national" phase and "national" fees, includes the reference to the procedure before a regional patent Office).