A patent application according to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is a unified patent application with effect for a multiple of individual contracting states and confederations.

Such a confederation is formed, for example, by the contracting states of European Patent Convention. A current list of PCT contracting states can be found at http://www.wipo.int/pct/en/list_states.pdf

In the PCT procedure, a patent cannot be granted. For the granting of a patent, a patent granting procedure (= the national phase) has to be initiated in those contracting states or confederations in which patent protection is desired not later than 30 months from the date of filing or from the priority date claimed for the international patent application.

To obtain a basis for a decision about the national prosecution of the international patent application, a preliminary international examination procedure can be passed in the international procedure.

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