Phases of the PCT procedure

International Application Processing

The PCT procedure consists of two main phases, the “international phase” and the “national (or regional) phase”.

International Phase

This phase consists of four main steps:

  1. the filing of an international application with the applicant’s national Office/or the International Bureau and processing by the Receiving Office
  2. the establishment of an international search report and a written opinion by the International Searching Authority (ISA)
  3. the international publication of the international application and related documents by the International Bureau (IB) of WIPO, as well as their communication to the designated and elected Offices, and 
  4. an option of international preliminary examination, which concludes with the establishment of an international preliminary report on patentability (Chapter II of the PCT), performed by the International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA)

The national (or regional) phase

The national or regional phase follows the international phase of the PCT procedure, and consists of the entry and processing of the international application in the individual countries or regions in which the applicant seeks protection for his invention. 

PCT Flowchart (pdf, 333 kB)