Conducting a WO patent search should be an essential part of your patent application process. The World Intellectual Property Organization is a United Nations organization which has oversight over many aspects of international patent law and regulation.

Normally, patents only protect the inventor's rights in the country that issues them. If you want international patent protection or patent protection in other countries, it can be a complex process to ensure you receive patent protection in every country you wish to operate in.

Multiple Territories

The WIPO does not offer a worldwide patent, but rather, creates a standardized process for patent applications across almost two hundred countries.

The WIPO process allows you to have a relatively replicable process in many major world nations, simplifying the process to a degree.

The WIPO system is in significant use in many essential countries. Here are 2016’s top WIPO nations by patent application:

• China: 1,338,503

• USA: 605,571

• Japan: 318,381

• South Korea: 208,830

• European Patent Office: 159,358

• Germany: 67,899

• India: 45,057

Claiming Priority

WIPO also provides a major benefit to patent applicants and owners in that it allows patent owners to keep the power to file applications in other WIPO treaty nations.

This delay makes it so the patent owner does not have to file many applications at the same time, reducing complexity, time constraint, and allowing other applications to improve on mistakes or feedback in the previous application.


WIPO has a standardized patent application that is available online through downloadable software. The application can even be filed electronically.

The application still will need to have all the materials that a standard United States patent application would have, such as descriptions and pictures.


Another benefit of filing a WIPO patent is that it reduces costs significantly for those who choose to use its international patent filing system. WIPO also has many resources about patents that can be helpful in determining patentability.

You should utilize this information as it will be helpful in determining how you should pursue your patent strategy.


WIPO gives patent owners an important protection in that it allows the right to file patent applications in other nations up to one year after the initial filing.

Under ordinary circumstances, a nation's patent office would have strong grounds to reject a patent that has been previously applied for in another nation because the patent invention's details have already been publicly disclosed.

The WIPO patent process fixes that problem by allowing the patent owner to keep their ability to file patents with other WIPO nations. This right is only preserved if the original WIPO patent application was the first time the invention's details were publicly revealed.

Patent Searches

Upon application under the WIPO's Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT patent application), WIPO will conduct a search to see if the proposed invention is considered "novel." You can also use WIPO’s online system to do a search of listed patents as well.

The novel requirement is to see if other inventions around the world are similar or even the same. If there are other similar patented inventions, the patent application will be considered non-unique and therefore, be refused.

The patent also must be useful and considered to not be simple or obvious.

The usefulness requirement means that the patent must be for some generally, commercially or socially beneficial use. The requirement to not be obvious means that the invention must be a significant addition to current technology.

The WIPO will look at the patent application and determine whether it is novel, non-obvious, and useful. If approved by the WIPO, the patent applicant can apply to the countries they are hoping to patent in.

If the WIPO determines that the patent application does not fit the requirements, the applicant can withdraw before formally submitting it to nations. This early indication of likely patent failure can save a lot of monetary costs.

Establishing the ISR and the WO-ISA

The WIPO will also provide an early evaluation of the patent's potential eligibility through a "International Search Report" (ISR)and opinion.

If you need help with filing your patent application, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5-percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law, and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with, or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.