Patent Filing

A patent application is filed to obtain a filing number and a date of filing. The allotted date of filing and the filing number remain the two most important details related to a patent application or a granted patent during their entire lifetime. Since the introduction of Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement, all the major jurisdictions follow the first inventor to file system, which means that irrespective of when a particular technology was invented or co-invented by several different entities, the date of filing of the patent application would be regarded as the date of completion of invention, and the ownership of the technology will lie with the applicant who was the first to file it with the patent office.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is one of the oldest patent offices in the world. The US adopted the first inventor to file provisions with the passing of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) on September 16, 2011. However, the USPTO offers a grace period of one year if the invention was disclosed publicly by the inventor themselves or by some other entity, with the authorization of the inventors, before the filing of the patent application.
The US patent statute, United States Code 35, and federal regulations, Code of Federal Regulations 37, include provisions for filing two kinds of patent applications, viz., 
1. Provisional Applications: The provisional applications are filed to obtain a filing number and a filing date on an incomplete invention, or for an invention whose economic significance and/or technical scope remains to be assessed.
2. Non-provisional Applications: The non-provisional applications may be filed as an extension of the provisional applications within a statutory period of twelve (12) months, extendible by another two (2) months under special circumstances. The non-provisional applications may also be directly filed as standalone applications without going through the provisional route, for inventions that ready for commercialization.

India is one of the cheapest and easiest country to file a patent application. Moreover, India uses a deferred examination system, thereby providing you with sufficient flexibility and time at every stage of the process starting from the filing of a patent application up until the grant of a patent. Similar to all the member states of the TRIPS agreement, India allows the filing of both Provisional and Complete Applications.

The filing of the patent application comes into play, once the inventor specifies all the details and specifications of the invention. If you make an invention in the Chinese territory and want to apply for a patent, you have to file your first application with CNIPA.

There are thirty-eight member states that are signatory to the European Patent Convention (EPC), including several major markets such as Germany, Italy, Spain, France, and the UK. A patent application for any member states can be filed either with the desired member states directly or with a common patent office known as the European Patent Office (EPO). 
While the EPO does have the power to grant a European patent, the granted European Patent still needs to validated individually in each member state where the applicant has business interests, before the European Patent can be enforced in that member state. Official languages of filing the patent application with the EPO are English, French, and German. If the application is not filed in one of these languages, a certified translation has to be submitted along with the application. 

The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) provides an intermediary patent office called the International Bureau (IB) that acts as a pit stop before entering any one or more of the one hundred fifty-three (153) contracting states to the PCT. While IB does not have powers to grant a patent, filing an international PCT application provides an international filing date and an international application number along with a period of typically thirty (30) or thirty-one (31) months for the applicant to identify their intended markets of interests.