Another important international convention in patent matters is the Patent Cooperation Treaty, or Convention on the International Patent. Thanks to this convention it is possible, with an initial unified procedure, to file a patent application which can then result into patents in more than 160 States in the world.
The procedure provides for a prior art search carried out world-wide and, if requested, a preliminary international examination which gives the Applicant a first opinion on the patentability of the invention. The international application is then prosecuted by entering national phases in the States of interest.
The European patent is a regional phase comprised in the International patent.