National phase

At the end of the “international phase” of the PCT procedure, it is necessary to convert the PCT application into a bundle of national and/or regional applications if patent rights in the invention are not to be lost.  The deadline for doing this varies from country to country, and the choice of countries/regions, from the list of possible countries is up to the applicant.

Generally speaking, there are two lists: those where national phase entry has to be completed within 30-months of the PCT application’s filing or priority date, or those where national phase entry has to be completed within 31-months of the PCT application’s filing or priority date.

30-month countries/regions 31-month countries/regions
LU           Luxembourg

TZ           United Republic of Tanzania

UG         Uganda

AE           United Arab Emirates

AG          Antigua and Barbuda

AO          Angola

AT           Austria

AZ           Azerbaijan

BB           Barbados

BH          Bahrain

BN          Brunei Darussalam

BR           Brazil

BZ           Belize

CA          Canada

CH          Switzerland

CN          China

CU          Cuba

DE           Germany

DM         Dominica

DO          Dominican Republic

EG          Egypt

ES           Spain

GD          Grenada

GH          Ghana

GM        Gambia

GT          Guatemala

HN          Honduras

IL             Israel

IR            Iran (Islamic Republic of)

JP            Japan

KE           Kenya

KM         Comoros

KN          Saint Kitts and Nevis

KP           Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

LA           Lao People’s Democratic Republic

LC           Saint Lucia

LK           Sri Lanka

LR           Liberia

LS            Lesotho

LY            Libya

ME         Montenegro

MG        Madagascar

MW       Malawi

MX         Mexico

MY         Malaysia

NG         Nigeria

NI           Nicaragua

OA          African Intellectual Property Organization (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Comoro Islands, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal & Togo)

OM        Oman

PA          Panama

PH          Philippines

PL           Poland

PT           Portugal

QA          Qatar

RO          Romania

RS           Serbia

RW         Rwanda

SA           Saudi Arabia

SD           Sudan

SG          Singapore

ST           Sao Tome and Principe

SV           El Salvador

TH           Thailand

TJ            Tajikistan

TM         Turkmenistan

TN          Tunisia

TR           Turkey

TT           Trinidad and Tobago

US          United States of America

VC          Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

ZM         Zambia

ZW         Zimbabwe

PE           Peru

CL           Chile

AL           Albania

AM         Armenia

AP          African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (Botswana, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya,  Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe)

AU          Australia

BG          Bulgaria

BW         Botswana

BY           Belarus

CO          Colombia

CR           Costa Rica

CZ           Czech Republic

DK          Denmark

DZ           Algeria

EA           Eurasian Patent Organisation (Turkmenistan, Republic of Belarus, Republic of Tajikistan, Russian Federation, Republic of Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan Republic, Kyrgyz Republic, Republic of Armenia & Republic of Moldova)

EC           Ecuador

EE           Estonia

EP           European Patent Organisation (Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Finland, France, United Kingdom, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Monaco, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Sweden, Slovenia, Slovakia, San Marino & Turkey)

FI            Finland

GB          United Kingdom

GE          Georgia

HR          Croatia

HU          Hungary

ID            Indonesia

IN           India

IS            Iceland

KG          Kyrgyzstan

KR           Republic of Korea

KZ           Kazakhstan

LT            Lithuania

MA         Morocco

MD         Republic of Moldova

MK         The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

MN        Mongolia

MZ         Mozambique

NA          Namibia

NO         Norway

NZ          New Zealand

PG          Papua New Guinea

RU          Russian Federation

SC           Seychelles

SE           Sweden

SK           Slovakia

SL            Sierra Leone

SM         San Marino

SY           Syrian Arab Republic

UA          Ukraine

UZ          Uzbekistan

VN          Viet Nam

ZA           South Africa

BA          Bosnia and Herzegovina


Please note: the deadlines are fixed, and that there is little leeway for extensions of time.  Notably, Japan (JP) and certain other countries have no provision for late entry into the national phase.  Further, you need to take into account time zone differences because countries like Japan and China are effectively one day ahead of us here in the UK. This is a critical consideration when providing instructions because missing the deadline due to time zone differences is not an acceptable reason for restoration.

You may note that certain key countries, such as France and Italy, do not appear on the main list of PCT contacting states.  However, these countries are members of the European Patent Organisation, so patents can be obtained in those countries nevertheless, by entering the European regional phase of the PCT at the 31-month stage.  Also, certain countries above, such as Germany and Spain require direct entry into the national phase at 30-months, but these countries are also EPC contracting states so it is still possible to defer by a month by applying for a European patent at the 31-month stage instead.

Entering the national/regional phase is a costly and complicated process.  We can handle the filing of UK national phase applications as well as EPO regional phase applications.  For other countries/regions, we instruct overseas attorneys to handle this for you, with us as the “coordinator” to make sure that prosecution and amendments are consistent across the family of applications.

Please contact us if you would like to learn more, or provide instructions.