International patent application (PCT)

PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) is an international application system that makes it easier to apply for a patent in several countries.

PCT application – one application for several countries

PCT - Patent Cooperation Treaty, the convention on patent cooperation, is an international cooperation administered by the UN body World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The purpose of the collaboration is to make it easier to apply for a patent in several countries.

The PCT is only an international application system. A PCT application is assessed by an international examining authority of your choice, but the application is not processed so that you receive a decision on a patent.

Deliver PCT application within 12 months

You can submit a PCT application whenever you want, you do not need to have priority from another application. 

If you submit on the basis of an application from which you claim priority, the PCT application must be submitted no later than 12 months after the basic application's delivery date, the priority date. 

You can claim priority at the same time as submitting the PCT application, or submit the priority claim within 16 months of the priority date. 

Apply through WIPO

You submit the application electronically in WIPO's submission system ePCT. You will then receive a receipt. 

To be able to use ePCT, you must first create an account. Information and guidance can be found on WIPO's website.

Apply via the Norwegian Industrial Property Office (NIPO)

You can also submit the application to the NIPO. You must then first download the application form in PDF from the WIPO website. Then submit the application form via the form for correspondence in Altinn. 

When you submit the application, you choose which investigating authority will assess the application and pay a fee. 

If you submit the PCT application to the NIPO, we are the ones who review and check the application, and let you know if anything needs to be changed. When the application meets the formal requirements, we forward it to WIPO, which then forwards it to the examining authority you have chosen. 

When you submit the PCT application to the Patent Office, you can choose between the Nordic Patent Institute – NPI (XN), the European Patent Office (EP) or the Swedish intellectual Property Office (SE) as the examining authority. 

Who can submit a PCT application via the NIPO?

The NIPO can accept PCT applications where at least one of the applicants fulfills one of the points: 

  • Norwegian citizen 
  • person resident in Norway 
  • person who runs a business in Norway 
  • Norwegian companies with commercial activities in Norway 

Nordic Patent Institute - NPI as examining authority

Applicants from Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Sweden can choose the Nordic Patent Institute (XN) as international examining authority. 

 If you choose NPI as the examining authority, you will receive the reports with examination results and patentability assessment within two months. 

 The PCT application is scrutinized and assessed by technologists at the Norwegian Patent Board. Applicants can therefore communicate in Norwegian during the assessment in the international phase. 

 If you claim priority from a Norwegian application, the assessment will usually be carried out by a different case manager than the one who processes the national application. This is to get an independent international examination of your application. 

You can get a discount by notifying that the inspection authority can use previous inspection results. You can state this in the PCT application form. 

News review and patentability assessment – 15 months

In the international phase, the examining authority makes an assessment of whether the application can be patented. The application is examined for novelty and it is also assessed whether the invention is something that can be reproduced and whether it is clear what you are claiming a patent for. 

After a few months, you receive the examination report and patentability assessment ("Written Opinion") from the international examining authority. The reports show whether a similar invention has previously been published. This gives you a good basis for assessing whether you should forward the PCT application to national patent authorities. 

Publication – 18 months

18 months after the priority date, the PCT application is published. The examination report will be published together with the application, while the patentability assessment will be available to everyone on Patentscope. 

Patentscope is a global patent database, developed and maintained by WIPO. It provides free and open access to a large collection of international patent documents, including patent applications, patentability assessments, granted patents and related technical information.

You can obtain provisional protection in Norway for an international patent application in the period from after it has been published internationally, and until it is continued in Norway.

Continuation to national phase – 30-31 months

Once the assessment in the international phase is complete, you must forward the application to each individual country or regional scheme in which you wish to apply for a patent. For most countries, the deadline for forwarding a PCT application is 30 months from the priority date, but some countries has an earlier deadline. You can read about which deadlines the different countries have in the PCT Applicant's Guide. 

The application will be processed in the countries you choose, according to the rules that apply in the individual countries. You must follow up the proceedings yourself in the individual countries to which you are transferring. 

Continuation to Norway in the national phase - 30-31 months

To forward a PCT application to Norway, you must submit a copy of the PCT application (for example, the international publication of the application), or the publication number to the Norwegian Patent Office. The application must be in Norwegian or English, otherwise you must provide a translation into Norwegian or English. 

A PCT application that is forwarded to Norway is largely processed in the same way as other applications submitted in Norway. 

To obtain provisional protection in Norway for a continued PCT application submitted in English, you must translate the patent claims into Norwegian and send the translation to the NIPO for publication. 

In which language should the application be submitted?

You must complete the application form in English. The description and patent claims can be delivered in Norwegian or English. 

If you submit the description and patent claims in Norwegian, you will receive a notice in a standard WIPO form from the Patent Office, stating the deadline for submitting the English translation. The deadline depends on which international examining authority you have chosen. 

You send the translation to the NIPO via Altinn or ePCT (wipo.int). You can also send this to us by e-mail. 

We will send an invoice and any notification as soon as possible and within 5 working days after the application has been received. 

If you choose the EPO as the investigating authority, the application must be in English, but you will have the opportunity to translate it if you have submitted it in, for example, Norwegian. 

What do you have to pay, and what is worth doing?

If you are going to continue the application to more than three countries, it may be worthwhile to go through the PCT system, but if you want to apply in fewer countries, the costs will probably be lower by applying directly to each individual country's patent authority. 

Usual fees for filing a PCT application (but this may vary from application to application): 

  • Submission fee to the Norwegian Patent Office (if you submit the application to the Norwegian Patent Office) 
  • Examination fee to the international examination authority 
  • Fee for ordering a priority document 
  • International application fee to WIPO 
  • Additional fee for each page over 30 in number. 

You get discounts by submitting in ePCT (wipo.int), and a further discount if you submit the application in XML format. 

 

Applicants with a patent attorney

You can use the same Norwegian representative both in the processing of the first application in Norway, in the international phase and any continuation to the EPO. The latter presupposes that the attorney is approved as an attorney vis-à-vis the EPO. 

Do you need help in the application process?

Get an overview of what opportunities you have and what you must do if you want to file an application. The experts at NIPO have long experience and know what you should think about.