A “world patent” does not exist. You must file an application in each individual country for patent protection.
Under the Paris Convention (to which most countries belong), you may file an application in another country within 12 months of your first patent application and the later application will be given the date of the first filing (i.e. your overseas application is effectively “back dated” to the date of filing in New Zealand).
The novelty regulations in many overseas countries are such that you must file your overseas patent application within this 12 month period. However, there are some exceptions to this (notably the USA); please check with one of our patent attorneys.
We can manage your overseas patent applications using our worldwide network of patent attorneys.
Patent Co-Operation Treaty (PCT)
Rather than filing in your countries of choice after 12 months, a PCT application may instead be filed by the 12 month deadline. A PCT is a central “international application”, filed through the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). A PCT application gives you a further 18 months to file your applications in individual countries.
Most of New Zealand’s trading partners are PCT members (e.g. USA, China, Australia, Canada, Japan, and European countries) and it is an attractive option for applicants wishing to postpone the decision of where to file applications.
A PCT application may not be cheaper than individual overseas applications in the long term, but it has the merit of reducing the initial cost of overseas protection. A further major advantage of a PCT application is that it undergoes a centralized patent novelty search and then a centralized patent examination, before it is necessary to confirm filing in selected overseas countries and thus incur further expense. This extra time can be extremely valuable when deciding where overseas patent protection will be needed.