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PCT Optional Examination

An international preliminary examination may optionally be requested. An authorized international preliminary examination authority conducts the international preliminary examination, which results in an international preliminary examination report.

When a PCT optional examination is demanded, the contracting states for which the examination is demanded are called Elected Offices. The election of a contracting state equally means electing it when demanding (requesting) the examination.

The applicant decides whether or not to request an international preliminary examination before the later of three months from the date of transmittal to the applicant of the international search report. For all the countries but three, the demand must be filed within 30 or 31 months of the priority date. Essentially, a demand for a preliminary examination asks for the preparation of an international preliminary examination report on patentability by one of the "International Preliminary Examining Authorities."



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In order to obtain protection in each individual country the inventor chooses, it is necessary for the PCT to be converted in the national patent offices of the selected countries where the invention will be subject to an examination in order to meet the national requirements for novelty, obviousness etc. The administrative tasks, including translation if compulsory and the fees associated with lodging patent applications in that country, must be complied with. Therefore, The PCT application can act as a way of delaying the costs of filing in multiple national patent offices, until the inventor has decided whether it is worthwhile seeking protection in several countries.