International Patents

The Patent Co-operation Treaty (PCT) was established in 1970. It is administered by the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)in Geneva. Ireland ratified the Treaty in 1992.

The main objective of the Treaty is the streamlining of patent application filing and novelty search procedures for applicants wishing to obtain patent protection in a wide number of countries around the world.

The PCT provides a system whereby a single international application allows for the designation of some or all of the contracting countries. The relevant national patent authority is normally the granter of a patent pursuant to an application filed under the treaty.

A PCT application requesting patent protection in Ireland is deemed to be an application for a European patent for Ireland and will be processed by the EPO in accordance with the EPC (European Patent Convention).

An application for an Irish patent under the Patents Act, 1992, can be used as a basis for claiming 'priority' for applications filed under the PCT, provided that these filings are within 12 months of the date of filing of the earlier Irish application for the same invention.

The Intellectual Property Office of Ireland acts as a receiving office for PCT applications of nationals or residents. The Office carries out an administrative formalities check before transmitting the application to the International Bureau. The Office accepts certain fees associated with an International PCT application for transmission to WIPO.

It is also possible to file a PCT application electronically using WIPO's online portal ePCT and WIPO’s electronic filing software PCT-SAFE.

Additional information on the operation of the PCT is available from:

·         WIPO website:

·         E-mail:

·         "PCT Applicant's Guide"

PCT FAQs.pdf

PCT Application Guide.pdf

PCT Information Service (for general questions about the PCT):
Telephone: (41 22) 338 83 38
Fax: (41 22) 338 83 39

For filing international applications directly with WIPO, please contact:
World Intellectual Property Organization
PCT Receiving and Processing Section
34, chemin des Colombettes
CH-1211 Geneva 20, Switzerland
Telephone: (41 22) 338 92 22
Fax: (41 22) 910 06 10
Website address: