USPTO to Hold Public Meeting on the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)

Meeting will Engage the Public in Agency Task Force Effort to Improve PCT System
Press Release

Contact: Peter Pappas or Ruth Nyblod
(571) 272-8400 or;

Washington - The Commerce Department's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will hold a public meeting on Wednesday, January 13, 2010, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at its campus in Alexandria, Va. The meeting is an effort of the USPTO's Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) Task Force, which is holding this meeting to gather public input on how the agency could utilize the PCT more effectively. This meeting is the latest in a series of public forums the USPTO has sponsored to solicit public input on issues pertaining to the U.S. intellectual property (IP) system.

"The number of patent applications filed in the USPTO and other offices has increased significantly over the last decade," said USPTO Administrator for External Affairs Arti Rai. "As worldwide patent protection is increasingly requested, patent offices around the world are struggling under the burden of this increasing workload. With 142 members, the PCT offers a comprehensive network with widespread acceptance that can be used to address this challenge. The PCT Task Force is charged with working with the public to consider how the USPTO could be utilizing the PCT more effectively, and we think this public meeting will be a useful step in that process."

The Patent Cooperation Treaty 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.

To build upon the existing framework, the USPTO is considering how PCT applications could be included in worksharing efforts. The office is also considering other PCT process improvements, such as allowing submission of prior art by applicants and third parties to improve PCT processing. Furthermore, the Task Force is studying the USPTO's own PCT procedures, with the aim of reducing processing time and improving quality.

In the public meeting, a number of stakeholders in the IP community have signed up to make presentations on suggested improvements to PCT processing. If time permits, after the presentations, members of the audience will have the opportunity to provide additional suggestions and commentary. There will be limited walk-in audience seating on a space-available basis.

The meeting will be available for viewing via a live webcast. To enter the webcast, interested parties should click on this link (or copy it into an Internet browser): and enter as a guest.

In addition to the public meeting, stakeholders can submit comments via e-mail or in writing. Further information can be found in the Federal Register notice:

Media who are interested in attending the public meeting should contact either Peter Pappas or Ruth Nyblod.