EFS-Web is the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) web-based patent application and document submission system. I have been filing all my documents electronically since the USPTO started beta testing electronic filing (and I am shocked to see that some law firms still do not use electronic filing).
All documents filed via EFS-Web must be pdfs with embedded fonts, or image-based. This requires a pdf writer. According to the USPTO, versions of commercial PDF Writer software that work with EFS-Web include: [Read more…]
The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is an international agreement for filing patent applications having effect in many countries around the world. Although the PCT system does not provide for the grant of “an international patent”, the system simplifies the process of filing patent applications, delays the expenses associated with applying for patent protection in foreign countries, and allows the inventor more time to assess the commercial viability of his/her invention. Under the PCT, an inventor can file a single international patent application in one language with one patent office in order to simultaneously seek protection for an invention in the PCT member countries (source: USPTO Inventor Resources).
WIPO PCT Resources
About the PCT
PCT Articles (html, pdf)
PCT Rules (html, pdf)
PCT Treaty, Regulations, and Administrative Instructions
General FAQs on Patents from WIPO
PCT Applicant’s Guide
Types of Protection Available via the PCT in PCT Contracting States
WIPO Standard Two Letter Country Codes
Time Limits for Entering National/Regional Phase under PCT Chapters I and II
Effects of modification of PCT Article 22(1) time limit
PCT Contracting States for which a Regional Patent can be Obtained via the PCT
PCT Fee Tables by Countries/Offices
PCT Fees in US Dollars
Official Notices (PCT Gazette) Collection
PCT Time Limit Calculator
USPTO PCT Office including Forms, Fees, and Information
European Patent Office (EPO)
Filing an application in the EPO
MPEP Chapter 1800 Patent Cooperation Treaty (html, pdf)
The USPTO PCT Help Desk, which provides information and assistance on the PCT process, may be reached by telephone at (571) 272-4300 between the hours of 9:00 am and 4:30 pm (EST/EDT), Monday through Friday or by facsimile (FAX) at (571) 273-0419 twenty-four hours a day.
There are four basic requirements for patentability under the European Patent Convention (EPC): 1) there must be an “invention”; 2) the invention must be “susceptible of industrial application”; 3) the invention must be “new”; and 4) the invention must involve an “inventive step” (Article 52).
Many people who have confidence in their knowledge of U.S. patent law run into problems when applying for European patents because they disclose their invention before filing either a U.S. or European patent application. While this may be acceptable (with certain limitations) in the U.S., it can create insurmountable problems in many other countries.
In order to understand why, you must understand the third requirement of patentability under the EPC – the “new” requirement.