Effective Filing Date for International Applications
Under Section 102(e) of Title 35 of the United States Code, a person is not entitled to a patent if their invention was described in a published application or patent granted on an application filed in the United States before the invention by the applicant.
An international application may have the same effect as an application filed in the United States for purposes of Section 102(e), but only if the international application designates the United States and was published in English.
This is important to inventors located in other countries who wish to file initially in a country other than the United States, but also wish for their application to serve as prior art in the United States. If such an inventor knows that the United States is an important area in which to protect their invention, it may be to their advantage to file an application directly into the United States and bypass the PCT process. Alternately, the inventor may wish to file a PCT and enter the United States with a translation prior to publication of the PCT application. A third option is to file a United States application with an English translation along with the initial foreign application.