It is advisable to file an international patent application (Patent Cooperation Treaty or a PCT Application), when the company has extensive international operations. Strictly speaking, the PCT Application does not result in an international patent being granted, but instead it enables the granting of several national patents as a result of a single process. An advantage of the system is that a single application is sufficient for initiating the process in all states party to the Patent Cooperation Treaty, which entered into force in 1978. An applicant of an international patent has, as a rule, a period of 30 months from the filing of a patent application in Finland for deciding in which countries the applicant wishes to apply for a patent.
According to the applicant’s preferences, a PCT Application may be filed either with the National Board of Patents and Registration in Finland, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva or the European Patent Office (EPO). The application must always be made using a specific official application form. Users of the PCT Safe software will receive a discount on the application fees. More information regarding the software can be found on WIPO’s internet site. Information concerning application fees is available on the website of NBPR. Due to the financial interests and detailed application procedures relating to patent applications, it is advisable to consult a patent attorney, at the latest when shifting from the national phase to international patent applications.