This is an international patent application that is potentially effective in around 140 countries worldwide. There is no such thing as an international (granted) patent, only an international application. A PCT application undergoes a centralised application process, with filing occuring at a single Receiving Office (e.g. UKIPO) in a single language with payment of fees in a single currency. The application process includes two phases, an initial international phase and a subsequent national/regional phase.
A clear advantage to having a PCT application is that it delays making the decision of where an applicant would ultimately like patent protection until 30mths from the filing (or priority) date of the PCT application, i.e. the national/regional phase. This consequently delays payment of what can be substantial patenting costs until this time too. This extra time is often useful for inventors to seek financial backing, to test the market with a new product, or simply to sell the patent.
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