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.

The PCT is only an application system. An international patent application is not decided in the international processing but is assessed by an international examining authority. The international assessment consists of a novelty search and an assessment of patentability. The international reports you receive provide you with a good basis on which to consider the number of countries to which you wish to extend the international application. After you have extended the application to the countries/regions where you wish to apply for a patent, the various countries/regions will decide whether or not to grant you a patent.

Who can file a PCT application at the Norwegian Industrial Property Office?

The Norwegian Industrial Property Office (NIPO) is Receiving Office for international applications where at least one of the applicants is:

  • A Norwegian citizen
  • A person resident in Norway
  • A person who undertakes business activities in Norway, or
  • A Norwegian enterprise

Filing an application at the NIPO

You must fill in the application form in English, but the description and patent claims can be submitted in Norwegian or English. If you file the application in Norwegian, you must supply a translation into English within 14 months from the priority date (or the date on which we received the international application if you have not claimed priority). This is done to prepare for international publication.

If you wish to claim priority from one or more previous patent applications, it is important that we receive the international patent application no later than 12 months after you filed the first application. You can claim priority at the same time as filing the international application or submit the priority claim within 16 months after filing the first application.

When you file your international application to the NIPO, you may choose Nordic Patent Institute (the country code is XN), the Swedish Patent and Registration Office (SE) or the European Patent Office (EP) as international examining authority. If you choose the European Patent Office as international examination authority, the application must be filed in English or translated in to English.

International processing of the patent application

The international examining authority will conduct a novelty search on your application. The purpose of the search is to establish whether anyone has previously published something of the same nature as the subject of your patent application, or something that is so close that it has a negative impact on the assessment of your application. The results of the search will have a decisive bearing on the assessment that is made of whether your application has novelty and involves an inventive step (if it differs substantially from the prior art). Your international examining authority will also assess other patentability criteria, for example whether the invention is capable of industrial application and whether it is clear for what you are claiming a patent.

You can contribute to minimising duplication of work and reducing your costs by asking for the national search of the priority application be used to form the basis for the international examination.

You will receive a search report and patentability assessment ("Written Opinion") from the international examining authority. The search report is published together with the international application 18 months after the priority date. The patentability assessment will be accessible for everyone at Patentscope after the application has been published.

The Nordic Patent Institute as an international examining authority

The Nordic Patent Institute (XN) is a cooperation between the patent authorities in Denmark, Norway and Iceland. The Institute receives and processes PCT applications in the international phase from applicants in these countries and in Sweden.

If you use the Nordic Patent Institute, your application will be processed by case officers at the Norwegian Industrial Property Office. Norwegian applicants will therefore be able to communicate in Norwegian during processing of the PCT application in the international phase. If you claim priority from a Norwegian application, the processing will usually be done by a different case officer than the one who assesses the national application. You will therefore have an independent examination of your application.

By using the Nordic Patent Institute, the applicant will, in addition, be able to use the same Norwegian patent attorney throughout the processing of a national first application, the international processing and any extension to the EPO. The latter requires the attorney to have been approved as an attorney in relation to the EPO.

The Nordic Patent Institute supplies the international PCT reports with search results and patentability assessment with shorter deadlines than those that apply to international examining authorities.

Provisional patent protection in Norway

You can obtain provisional protection in Norway for an international patent application in the period from when it is published internationally until it is extended to Norway.

You must submit the following to the Norwegian Industrial Property Office to obtain provisional protection in Norway:

  • Patent claims in Norwegian
  • Information on application number and/or publication number
  • Information on name and address of applicant
  • Power of attorney, if any. If you do not provide a power of attorney, the application will be published without an attorney.

The provisional protection applies only if the Norwegian translation and the published international application correspond. You can submit a correction of the translation.

When submitting a translation or correction, you must tell us that they have been submitted in order to obtain provisional protection.

The Norwegian Industrial Property Office will announce in the Norwegian Patent Gazette (Norsk patenttidende) that patent claims in Norwegian have been filed, and the translation will be available to everyone. The provisional protection applies from the time of announcement in the Norwegian Patent Gazette.

Other services in the international phase

After you have received an international search report and patentability assessment, you can have several services performed by international authorities. To request these services, you must apply directly to the international authority you wish to use.

If you wish to have an international supplementary search performed, you can request this from a different international authority than the one that carried out the international search and that supplies this service. This may be appropriate if the other authority has special linguistic expertise which is useful to you in the search. If you have not used the Nordic Patent Institute as an international examining authority, it may be appropriate to use them for additional examination of Nordic material.

If you submitted your international application to the Norwegian Industrial Property Office and need an international provisional review of patentability, you can choose between using the Nordic Patent Institute (the country code is XN), the Swedish Patent and Registration Office (PRV) and the European Patent Office (EPO) as the international authority for preparatory review of patentability. Such a review will be appropriate, for example, if you have amended the patent claims following an international search and need to have them assessed prior to extending them to the national phase.

Extension of PCT application

When processing in the international phase has been completed, you must extend the application to each individual country or regional scheme in which you wish to apply. Extension means that the application must be translated into a language accepted by the individual country, and you will have to pay a fee to the countries concerned. If you obtain a patent, the patent will have the same status as an ordinary national patent.

The European Patent Office (EPO) is affiliated to PCT. You can therefore extend the PCT application to the EPO in the same way as other countries. You will then apply for patent protection in all the countries that are affiliated to the European Patent Convention (EPC), including Norway. You can also extend your PCT application to Norway, see below.

Extension of PCT application to Norway

To extend 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 Industrial Property Office.

If the application is not in English, you have 2 months in which to provide the Norwegian Industrial Property Office with a full translation of the application into Norwegian or English. You will have to pay a supplementary fee if you do not supply the translation at the same time as the application. You must make sure that you meet the deadline for translation yourself, as the Norwegian Industrial Property Office does not send reminders. If you do not supply a translation of the application within 33 months after you pay the supplementary fee, we will consider the application to have been withdrawn.

When the application is filed in Norwegian or English, the language of the application cannot be changed subsequently.

If you have not met the deadline, you may in some cases request that processing of your application be resumed. Read more about the possibility of further processing.

A PCT application that is extended to Norway will be processed in largely the same way as other applications filed in Norway.

To obtain provisional protection in Norway for an extended PCT application filed in English, you must translate the patent claims into Norwegian and send the translation to the Norwegian Industrial Property Office for announcement.


You can read more about the international patent system on WIPO's website (World Intellectual Property Organization):

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