In the past 12 months, two new countries have become signatories to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), while a third will become bound to the PCT in August 2013. This will bring the total number of member countries of the PCT to 147.
The new additions are Brunei (which became bound to the Treaty on 24 July 2012), Panama (which became bound on 7 September 2012) and Saudi Arabia (which will join on 3 August 2013). Saudi Arabia becomes the fifth Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country to join the PCT, leaving Kuwait as the only GCC country yet to ratify the Treaty.
The addition of Saudi Arabia to the ranks of PCT contracting states is particularly welcome, as this will hopefully make the process of obtaining patent protection for inventions in this country simpler and more efficient.