Cost Of Foreign Patent Filings To Be Further Reduced

Posted Friday, March 27, 2015.

The process of seeking patent protection outside the United States often begins with a PCT application. PCT stands for Patent Cooperation Treaty. A PCT application is similar to a U.S. application for a patent. However, upon being received by an authorized receiving office, the application is forwarded to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) offices in Geneva, Switzerland. An international search is then performed.

For small and micro-entity inventors, the filing fees for a PCT application are substantially higher than in the United States. As I have previously written, the discounts offered to small companies and individual inventors for patent fees are a bargain compared with the rest of the world. Those discounts are not extended by WIPO, however, making PCT applications a much more expensive proposition.

Fortunately, changes in currency exchange rates are likely driving these costs down. PCT fees were previously reduced on January 1, 2015. Now, the fees paid to certain foreign offices to perform the international search are being reduced, effective April 1. When the international search is ordered from the European Patent Office, for example, the search cost is being reduced from $2,366 to $2,125.

Obtaining patents outside the United States can be costly. The reduction in cost for the international search taking effect April 1 is welcome.

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