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Robert Baker
11:20 16 Apr 24
Great support from Will and the team getting my patent application to... first more
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Kieran Thomas
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Robert and the team have been great to work with and we've just... successfully secured our first patent. Whenever we needed any advice or had any questions, Robert and the team were more than happy to help, and any answers were always communicated in a way which was easy to understand. Thank you all for helping us secure our first patent!read more
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Christian Janke
20:20 14 Dec 23
I recently had the pleasure of working with Joel Weston on what initially... seemed like a minor IPO issue, but it evolved into a comprehensive co-existence agreement with another company. I can’t express enough how much I valued Joel’s expertise, depth of knowledge, and meticulous guidance throughout this process. It was more than just legal advice; for me, it was akin to an enlightening crash course in IP law!read more
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The qualified British and European patent attorneys at Albright IP can provide you with expert international patent advice and guidance, and represent you before the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Albright IP also has an extensive network of foreign attorney contacts, providing cost-effective services for patents all over the world. Please watch the video below to learn more about international patents.


An international, or PCT (Patent Co-operation Treaty), patent application is a very cost-effective and flexible method for securing patent protection in up to 148 territories worldwide. This is separate to ‘national filings’, which involves filing separate patent applications in individual countries.

Our qualified and experienced attorneys with engineering and science backgrounds are able to cost-effectively draft, file, and prosecute International patent applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, also known as the PCT.

When should I file a PCT patent application?

Before filing for overseas patents, it is usual to file a base patent application here in the UK, or your home country, first. This base application serves to establish a priority date for your invention. It is then possible to defer your overseas patent applications for up to one year from the priority date in countries party to the Paris Convention.

Albright IP can advise you regarding a foreign filing strategy, whilst taking account of your circumstances. This may be direct filings claiming priority from your domestic patent application, or national stage entry from your international PCT patent application.

When will a PCT patent application grant?

Patents are granted as territorial rights. It is not yet possible to obtain “worldwide” patent protection through a single patent. However, a PCT application is a single patent application, which sets the ball rolling for patenting in most industrialised countries.

A PCT application typically lasts for a total of 30 months or, in some cases, 31 months from the earliest filing date (also known as priority date). At the end of this period, it must undergo a conversion process to become a national or regional patent application. This conversion process is known as national or regional phase entry. The resulting national or regional patent applications may themselves proceed to grant, but the PCT application does not.

What are the benefits of a PCT patent application?

A PCT patent application defers the costs of multiple foreign filings. It provides a good quality novelty search, and allows you to amend the claimed subject matter in the light of the search before conversion into national and regional patent applications.

Instead of (or as well as) a PCT filing, it is possible to file for national patents in individual territories. For a more detailed discussion of the merits of a PCT application vs. direct national filings, please click here.

What happens when I’m ready to file an application?

For International patent applications, unlike many patent attorney firms, Albright IP uses a secure and immediate online filing system for PCT patent applications. This online filing system also provides discounted official fees, and we are proud to pass on these cost-savings in full to our clients.

Following your International patent application, we can also provide very cost-effective national and regional phase conversion into all of the PCT contracting states and jurisdictions.

Please explore the following sections for further details of the PCT application procedure.

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Filing your application

Albright IP will prepare a draft patent specification for your approval based on your disclosure to us. In order to keep costs down, it is therefore important to provide as much information as possible about the invention at the outset.

Once approved, a patent application will be prepared and filed. The application will preferably include a description, claims, drawings and an abstract. This is known as a full application. We use an electronic filing system with the International Bureau, and therefore will receive an immediate acknowledgment and official filing receipt.

Sometimes, in order to reduce up-front costs, applications are filed initially without claims and an abstract. We generally advise against this, unless it is absolutely necessary, because new subject matter cannot be added to a patent application, once filed. In other words, late filed claims are limited to the subject matter included in the specification on filing. It also takes longer to receive the search results, which could be very important for your product development.

We normally recommend filing a PCT application that claims priority from a British patent application, after the search report for the British application has issued. This can give a valuable indication of what prior art is known before filing an international application, which can then be tailored accordingly.

For more information, please contact us by calling +44 (0) 1242 691 801 to speak with one of our qualified British and European attorneys.

The International Search Report and Written Opinion (ISR + WO)

Once filed, the application is searched (for example, by the European Patent Office) and an International Search Report (ISR) and Written Opinion (WO) are issued. The Written Opinion sets out the Examiner’s opinion on the novelty (uniqueness) and inventiveness of your invention, and thus the likelihood of being granted a patent.

The ISR + WO can issue within about 4 months or so from filing, if priority to an earlier patent application is claimed. If the PCT application is filed directly, it may take up to 9 months for the ISR + WO to issue.

We will forward the ISR + WO to you and briefly comment on its relevance.

We are happy to discuss the results of the search with you, in order to provide initial guidance and advice. If you should require more detailed analysis or review along with proposing possible claim amendments if necessary, we can provide a competitive cost-estimate.

It is often prudent at this time to also consider the results of the search in light of possible infringement on your part. For example, if you were to put your invention on the market, would it fall within the scope of an earlier patent even though it is an improvement? Albright IP can discuss this with you, provide a quotation, and undertake this analysis.

It is also wise to consider the infringement aspect if you are undergoing prototyping and/or manufacture. It is preferable to make changes earlier on to the design to circumvent a competitor’s patent rather than waiting for launch before discovering issues.

For more information, please contact us by calling +44 (0) 1242 691 801 to speak with one of our qualified British and European attorneys.


Around 18 months from the date of filing, or from the priority date if priority is claimed, your application is published, together with a copy of the search report (if established). Once a PCT patent application has been published, files relating to it are available for public inspection and bibliographic data is available to the public on PatentScope (WIPO’s international patent database).

Albright IP will record the details and dates of the published application when it is received, and a copy of the publication will be forwarded to you.

For more information, please contact us by calling +44 (0) 1242 691 801 to speak with one of our qualified British and European attorneys.

International Preliminary Examination (IPE)

Optionally, International Preliminary Examination (IPE) can be requested and a fee paid, either 22 months from the priority date or 3 months after issuance of the ISR + WO, which results in an Examination Report being issued.

This is useful if amendment of the application proves necessary. In any event, an International Preliminary Report on Patentability (IPRP) is always issued to the Patent Offices in the countries covered by the application.

We can advise you on a case by case basis and whether or not we believe requesting IPE would be beneficial, in view of the costs involved.

For more information, please contact us by calling +44 (0) 1242 691 801 to speak with one of our qualified British and European attorneys.

National and Regional Phase Entry

At 30 or 31 months from the priority date, the application leaves the International Phase. Before this happens, you need to choose territories in which to pursue patent protection during the National Phase (or Regional Phase). Albright IP will contact you in good time beforehand and guide you through this procedure with commercial and proactive advice.

National and regional applications are made in your countries of interest based on the international application as it stands following any amendments in the International Phase.

For example, you may wish to convert your PCT application into a European patent application which is a Regional phase application. Conversion of your PCT application in the United States, Australia, Canada, China and Japan, for example, would result in corresponding National Phase applications.

Any converted applications are then prosecuted individually before the local national or regional Patent Offices. Again, Albright IP will guide you through this entire process.

For more information, please contact us by calling +44 (0) 1242 691 801 to speak with one of our qualified British and European attorneys.

Through our qualified and experienced British and European patent attorneys, and our highly capable network of foreign attorneys, Albright IP can fully and proactively protect your invention, giving you the patent rights to then secure your market or to obtain lucrative licence and assignment deals.

How do I know whether someone has already made my invention?

Prior to filing a new patent application, Albright IP recommends that you make prior art searches to ascertain as far as you can the state of the art. This will help us to target the novel and inventive features of your invention. The European Patent Office operates a basic free searchable patents database, called Espacenet. If desired, we are also able to obtain or make pre-application searches for you.

If you would like further information, please contact us using the enquiry form to the left for further no-obligation free advice. Alternatively, call us on +44 (0)1242 691 801 to speak to a qualified British and European patent attorney.