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One more step towards Uruguay’s entry into the Patent Cooperation Treaty

By: Fabiana Penadés

April 29, 2024

Recently, the Science, Innovation and Technology Committee of the Chamber of Representatives of Uruguay approved the draft law for the country’s accession to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), a further step forward since the first steps were taken since 2023 towards the country’s accession to the treaty. The approval process is expected to be completed before the end of the year, following approval by legislators.

Last December, Uruguay’s letter of accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) was submitted, a relatively recent economic alliance that represents approximately 13.4 % of the world economy.

To do so, the government knows that it must comply with the ratification of the Patent Cooperation Treaty, which was signed in Washington in 1970 and has been in force since 1978, as one of the many requirements imposed by the 11 countries that are part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Currently, 157 countries from five continents have ratified the PCT.

To this end, the National Government of Uruguay sent to Parliament for its approval the Bill approving the accession to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), signed in Washington on June 19, 1970, amended on September 28, 1979, modified on February 3, 1984, and October 3, 2001.

The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is an international agreement managed by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO); its main objective is to simplify and make more economical for the users of the patent system and the offices in charge of administering it the procedure for filing an international patent application, with a view to protecting the inventions in several countries.

If the bill is finally approved, Uruguay will take an essential and necessary step in the negotiation of any free trade agreement. At the same time, the patent process will be much more agile and free from formal requirements that can make it difficult for newer technologies to enter the country.

In the last decade, Latin America and the Caribbean have been the most active regions in the world when it comes to joining international Intellectual Property systems; in fact, 50 % of accessions to systems such as PCT, International Trademark, and International Design come from them. 

The PCT as a system for “filing” international patent applications has several advantages:

  • It allows filing a single patent application with a single patent office, drafted in a single language, for international protection in several countries.
  • It allows an easier procedure for the filing of an international patent application since it has pre-established form requirements.
  • It provides for the formal examination of the international application by a single patent office, the Receiving Office.

On the basis of the international search report and the non-binding written opinion on novelty, inventive step, and industrial applicability, the applicant can assess the likelihood of obtaining patent protection.

It provides for the centralized international publication of PCT applications by the International Bureau, generally 18 months after the priority date of the international application.

Optionally, upon receipt of the international search report, the applicant may request a non-binding international preliminary examination with a written opinion. This examination gives the applicant the possibility to modify the application before entry into the national phase.

It motivates users to seek protection for their inventions at the international level, which encourages the scientific, technological, and economic development of the country.

If you are interested in protecting an innovation at an international level, contact our experts at infomarketing@clarkemodet.com for advice based on our long experience in this field.

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