You can patent your invention abroad by filing an application either directly to the patent office of the country in which a holder wants to have a patent, or through an international patent system, in accordance with the PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) which includes more than 140 countries.
To preserve the right of priority a foreign application or PCT application must be filed within 12 months from the filing date of the national application.
The system of filing an international application in accordance with the PCT procedure makes it possible to enjoy the legal protection of your invention in all PCT member countries.
The PCT encompasses the filing of applications for patents for inventions, inventors’ certificates, utility certificates, utility models, and various kinds of patents and certificates of addition.
International phase includes filing an international application, establishing an international search report and a written opinion, publication of the application by the International Bureau of WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) and (optional) international preliminary examination.
International phase of the procedure makes it possible for an applicant to have an understanding of the invention patentability and feasibility of further examination of the application.
National phase suggests filing an application to the patent offices in those countries in which the applicant wishes to have a patent. The deadline for filing a national application is generally 30-31 months from the priority date.
Therefore, the applicant has by 18-19 months more time than if he filed foreign application skipping the PCT procedure.