Nowadays, companies seek a protection for their Intellectual Property items (such as trademarks, patents, industrial designs etc) not only in their countries but also in multiple countries.

Therefore, international systems of Intellectual Property protection have been established, including conclusion of treaties and establishment of international bodies and organization. One of the most important treaties which have been jointly concluded by many countries is Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

This Treaty covers provisions on filing, searching and examination of applications for the protection of inventions and for rendering services in special technical fields. In 2011, 180.000 patent applications were filed under the Treaty. However, all exchange and communication among related parties (such as applicants, national offices, searching authorities, International Bureau and other third parties) have been in paper documents which can cause delay and impede the efficiency of system operation. Therefore, to facilitate and make easier for applicants and other related parties in the process of patent registration under the Treat, in May 2011, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) launched ePCT, a new online service which provides many advantages for applicants and national offices. Today, ePCT is being used by applicants over 80 countries.

The patent system has developed with processes mainly based on the exchange of paper documents. But with ePCT, it enables the electronic exchange of patent related data between interested parties quickly and easily. Because of full functions, applicants can submit their international patent applications online which are instantly available to the International Searching Authorities to determine the patentability of an invention.

This ePCT also contains third party observation system which allows any interested party to submit observation concerning prior art that may affect patentability of inventions.

For its convenience and using easily, ePCT is increasingly used and applied by both applicants and national offices.

For ePCT user guide, please go to the following link:

(Minh Phương, S&B Law)

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