Last updated: 
30 May 2016

You should use the time of filing your PCT application to check the commercial importance of your application. You should decide which countries you want to seek patent protection in. This is known as entering the national phase.

You do not have to enter the national phase in all countries under the PCT, only those where you are seeking patent protection.

An IPRPI or IPRPII which indicates there are no problems in your PCT application (known as a clear report) does not automatically lead to a patent being granted in any country that is a member of the PCT. You do not need a clear report to enter the national phase.

The time limit, criteria of assessment, laws and costs for entering the national phase varies from country to country. You should check the timing requirements of each individual country.

In Australia you have up to 31 months after your earliest priority date to enter the national phase.

In order to enter the national phase in Australia within 31 months from the earliest priority date you are required to (as a minimum):

  • tell us that you want to enter the national phase using online services and the PCT application your request relates to
  • pay us the required national phase entry fee
  • provide us with an Australian address for service
  • if your PCT application is in another language, provide a verified English translation.

Foreign patent office requirements

Other IP offices can have differences in the term of the patent, its legal effect, the cost of obtaining and keeping a patent and in application procedures. Make sure that you are aware of these differences or seek the advice of an IP professional. They can also arrange for patent attorneys in other countries to act for on your behalf.

Some patent offices may not accept applications in English. Getting translations of your application documents can add considerably to your costs.