The Patent Law Treaty (PLT), adopted by WIPO in June of 2000, entered into force on April 28, 2005. The PLT is the product of several years of multilateral negotiations on harmonizing global patent systems. The PLT harmonizes certain patent application procedures in order to reduce or eliminate formalities and the potential for loss of rights. The PLT does not harmonize substantive patent law, that is, the laws of each country that set forth the conditions that must be met in order to receive a patent for an invention in that country. WIPO, however, is holding discussions regarding harmonization of substantive patent law.
The PLT will make it easier for patent applicants and patent owners to obtain and maintain patents throughout the world by simplifying and, to a large degree, merging national and international formal requirements associated with patent applications and patents.
- simplifies and minimizes patent application requirements to obtain a filing date;
- imposes a limit on the formal requirements that Contracting Parties may impose;
- eases representation requirements for formal matters;
- provides a basis for the electronic filing of applications;
- provides relief with respect to time limits that may be imposed by the Office of a Contracting Party and reinstatement of rights where an applicant or owner has failed to comply with a time limit and that failure has the direct consequence of causing a loss of rights; and
- provides for correction or addition of priority claims and restoration of priority rights.