Patent Law Treaty

The Patent Law Treaty (PLT), adopted by the World Intellectual Property organization (WIPO) in June 2000, entered into force on April 28, 2005. The PLT is the product of several years of multilateral negotiations on harmonizing global patent systems. 

The PLT harmonizes and streamlines formal procedures in respect of national and regional patents and patent applications, making the procedures and the global patent system more user friendly. To do so, the provisions of the PLT sets forth a maximum set of requirements a party to the treaty may apply. It does not, however, harmonize substantive patent law. Rather, it makes it easier for patent applicants and patent owners to obtain and maintain patents throughout the world by simplifying and, to a significant degree, aligning formal requirements associated with patent applications and patents among global patent offices and jurisdictions.

The PLT:

  • simplifies and minimizes patent application requirements to obtain a filing date,
  • limits the formal requirements that Contracting Parties (that is, the signatories) may impose,
  • eases representation requirements for formal matters,
  • provides a basis for the electronic filing of applications,
  • provides relief with respect to time limits that may be imposed by the intellectual property office of a Contracting Party and reinstatement of rights where an applicant or owner has failed to comply with a time limit and that failure has the direct consequence of causing a loss of rights, and
  • provides for correction or addition of priority claims and restoration of priority rights.

As of January 2022, there were 43 Contracting Parties to the Patent Law Treaty.

For more information, visit WIPO’s Patent Law treaty webpage