Next, we will briefly discuss some of the relevant treaties and organizations that you may encounter in your efforts to obtain patent rights through international patent prosecution.

There are numerous treaties that have been entered into by various countries in an effort to harmonize patent law throughout the world. Some of the most important ones are:
  • The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
  • The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)
  • The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
  • Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)
  • The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property
The most important treaty for international patent prosecution is the PCT, which allows citizens or residents of a contracting state to file a single international application that could potentially issue in any or all of the member states. The PCT allows for an international search, international publication of the application and a preliminary examination before the PCT administering body, the World Intellectual Property Organization.

GATT resulted in a more uniform agreement among the signatories relating to patentable subject matter, compulsory licensing and the term of patent protection.

NAFTA and TRIPS attempted to balance the need for adequate protection for intellectual-property rights with the need to ensure that intellectual-property rights do not become a barrier to legitimate international trade.

The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property represented one of the first attempts to provide citizens of different countries with uniform intellectual-property rights.