Intellectual Property

Smit & Van Wyk Patent, Trademark & Registered Designs

Patent Cooperation Treaty

A PCT patent, also known as a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application or international patent application, is a mechanism that allows inventors and companies to seek patent protection for their inventions in multiple countries through a single application process. The PCT is an international treaty administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It’s important to note that obtaining a PCT patent does not guarantee that a patent will be granted in each country or region where protection is sought. However, it simplifies the initial stages of the patent application process and delays the need to file separate national applications, providing applicants with more time to decide which countries are worth pursuing for their inventions.

Smit & Van Wyk is able to assist with Patent Cooperation Treaty patent filings in all African countries that it applies to. The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) ensures that by filing one international patent application, that applicants can simultaneously seek protection for an invention in other PCT member countries. A patent application filed under the PCT is called an international application, or PCT application. It then results in a search performed by an International Searching Authority (ISA), accompanied by a written opinion regarding the patentability of the invention, which is the subject of the application. The PCT National Phase entry essentially leads to a standard national or regional patent application, which may be granted or rejected according to applicable law, in each jurisdiction in which a patent is desired.

PCT National Phase

The PCT National Phase is the second of the two main phases of the PCT procedure. It follows the international phase and consists in the processing of the international application before each Office of (or acting for a Contracting State) that has been designated in the international application. It is possible to file a single patent application to cover all the PCT countries. A PCT National Phase entry provides a unified procedure for filing patent applications to protect intellectual property in each of its contracting states.

PCT Contracting States in Africa

  • ARIPO countries
  • OAPI countries
  • Algeria
  • Angola
  • Botswana
  • Djibouti
  • Egypt
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • Seychelles
  • South Africa
  • Sao Tome e Principe
  • Sierra Leone
  • Sudan
  • Swaziland
  • Tanzania
  • Tunisia
  • Uganda
  • Zambia
  • Zanzibar
  • Zimbabwe


A single filing of an international application is made with a Receiving Office (RO) in one language.  A translation of the international application must be furnished if the language in which it was filed or published is not a language accepted by the designated Office. The translation must comprise a translation of the description, including the title of the invention, the claims and of any text matter in the drawings, as originally filed and/or as amended.

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