The world is not as small as it once was. Technological news and patent documents can be shared across our planet in a fraction of a second. Yet, while information may not be subject to geographic borders, patent protection remains very territorial. A patent granted by the USPTO only protects inventors in the United States in the same way that a German patent is only enforceable in German. As a result, inventors seeking patent protection in multiple countries must obtain patents from each country’s patent authority separately. Fortunately, in 1970, Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) made life a lot simpler for inventors seeking protection outside of their own borders.

The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)

The PCT is an international treaty put into place to make the initial patent filing process cheaper and simpler for inventors looking to file patent applications in more than one country. Rather than making several patent filings with several patent authorities, the PCT allows patent applicants to file a single “international” application in a single language with the Receiving Office in their home country.

Searching for International Applications

For inventors patenting an invention in just one country, patent documents filed in other countries can still inhibit patentability. As such, inventors are encouraged to conduct worldwide patent searches for relevant patent documents prior to filing their patent applications. A patent search may be completed by visiting each patent authority’s patent search systems one-by-one, or by utilizing more robust patent databases containing patent documents from multiple patent authorities.


PATENTSCOPE is an online patent search engine run by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) that enables access to a database of patent documents filed under the PCT. PATENTSCOPE features a simple search window that allows users to enter terms or key words that may pertain to their search. Currently, PATENTSCOPE returns results from just over 70 million PCT patent documents.

LexisNexis TotalPatent One®

TotalPatent One® is a complete patent search platform that allows users to quickly access patent data for over 110,000,00 patent documents from 107 patent authorities worldwide. While PATENTSCAPE is specific to patent applications filed under the PCT, TotalPatent One is a one-stop shop that eliminates the need to use multiple search engines to uncover both PCT and non-PCT patent documents. After quickly providing on-point search results, TotalPatent One also makes finding relevant patent documents even easier by presenting patent data in a useful and aesthetically pleasing format. TotalPatent One is the clear choice for inventors and patent professionals seeking to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of their patent searches.

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