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WIPO - PCT Applicant's Guide Introduction to the International Phase

Table of contents

CHAPTER 1: THIS GUIDE AND ITS ANNEXES

INTRODUCTION
1.001
This part of the PCT Applicant’s Guide (the Guide) consists of general information on the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) intended for those interested in filing international patent applications, in particular, information on the “international phase” of the PCT procedure. This is supplemented by a number of Annexes Containing more detailed information; whenever the word “Annex” followed by a capital letter is used in the Guide, it is a reference to an Annex. A second part follows and contains general information on the “national phase” of the PCT procedure, namely the procedure before the designated (or elected) Offices. A designated (or elected) Office is the national or regional Patent Office of or acting for a State party to the PCT (a “Contracting State”) that is designated (or elected) in an international application. This National Phase also indicates the requirements to be complied with before each of these Offices in their respective National Chapters. Since 2006, the Guide is only available via the Internet at https://www.wipo.int/pct/en/guide/index.html. An e-mail update service is also available which provides users of the Guide with a weekly notice informing them which Guide information has been updated that week.
1.002
In the text of the Guide, Article refers to Articles of the PCT, Rule refers to the PCT Regulations and Section refers to the PCT Administrative Instructions. References to a paragraph relate to the texts of either the International or the National Phases of the Guide.
1.003
Although the information contained in this Guide is fairly comprehensive, it should be borne in mind that it condenses and interprets rules that are contained in longer, official texts, particularly the PCT itself and the Regulations under the PCT, and it is those texts which apply in the case of any inconsistency with this Guide. Consultation of those texts is indispensable for complete information.
1.004
Since the text of the PCT and PCT Regulations is sometimes fairly complex, and since the drafting and prosecution of patent applications is itself a complex matter, prospective applicants, unless they are specialists in patent law themselves, are strongly advised to obtain professional advice from patent attorneys or patent agents, and to use the services of such attorneys or agents.
1.005. Where can I find a copy of the PCT Regulations and other PCT publications?
Up-to-date versions of the PCT Treaty and Regulations may be browsed or downloaded from the PCT Resources page at: https://www.wipo.int/pct/en/docs/official-notices/officialnotices.pdf. These texts are also available in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
Printed brochures of the PCT and Regulations, in many of the above languages, may be ordered as WIPO publication number 274 from the International Bureau at the address given in Annex B (IB), or by e-mail from publications.mail@wipo.int. A copy may also be downloaded, free of charge, from the following website: https://www.wipo.int/publications/en/index.html. Publication orders should also indicate the language of the required publication. PCT users may consult published international applications on PATENTSCOPE at: https://www.wipo.int/patentscope/en/. It is also recommended that they consult the Official Notices (PCT Gazette) which contain notices and information of a general character. Accession of new Contracting States, changes in fees and other information are promptly published therein. A complete collection of Official Notices (PCT Gazette) from 1998 to the present is available in electronic form on the WIPO website at: https://www.wipo.int/pct/en/docs/official_notices/officialnotices.pdf.
1.006
Up-to-date news about the PCT is available from the PCT Newsletter, a monthly publication. In addition to matters such as adherence of further States to the PCT and changes in requirements of Offices and Authorities, the PCT Newsletter also includes the current list of PCT Contracting States, reports of international meetings concerning the PCT, amendments to the PCT Regulations, changes to PCT forms, statistics relating to the filing of international applications, practical advice for PCT users, information about forthcoming PCT seminars and tables of PCT fees. The PCT Newsletter is available on the WIPO website at: https://www.wipo.int/pct/en/newslett/. This web page also contains a fully searchable collection of all practical advice published since 1994, plus back issues of the PCT Newsletter which are also fully searchable as from the January 1994 issue onwards. In addition to English, excerpts from the PCT Newsletter are also available in Chinese (https://www.wipo.int/pct/zh/newslett/index.html), Japanese (https://www.wipo.int/pct/ja/newslett/index.html) and Korean (https://www.wipo.int/pct/ko/newslett/index.html).
1.007
Those wishing to know the background to the PCT are advised to consult the “Records of the Washington Diplomatic Conference on the Patent Cooperation Treaty, 1970” which is available on the WIPO website at: https://www.wipo.int/pct/en/texts/washington.html.
1.008
Further useful material is contained in the Administrative Instructions under the PCT (available at https://www.wipo.int/pct/en/texts/index.html), the PCT Receiving Office Guidelines, and the PCT International Search and Preliminary Examination Guidelines (both available at https://www.wipo.int/pct/en/texts/gdlines.html). However, the Administrative Instructions and those Guidelines are mainly addressed to the authorities carrying out the various tasks entrusted to them by the PCT. To the extent that they are of interest to applicants, their contents are duly reflected in the notes to some PCT forms and in the text of this Guide.

CHAPTER 2: WHAT IS THE PCT?

2.001. What is the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)?
The Patent Cooperation Treaty or PCT is a multilateral treaty that was concluded in Washington in 1970 and entered into force in 1978. It is administered by the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), whose headquarters are in Geneva (Switzerland).
2.002. What are the advantages of using the PCT?
The PCT facilitates the obtaining of protection for inventions where such protection is sought in any or all of the PCT Contracting States (refer to Annex A). It provides for the filing of one patent application (“the international application”), with effect in several States, instead of filing several separate national and/or regional patent applications. In addition to designations of PCT Contracting States for the purposes of obtaining national patents and similar titles, an international application includes designations for regional patents in respect of States party to any of the following regional patent treaties: the Protocol on Patents and Industrial Designs within the framework of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) (hereinafter referred to as “the ARIPO Harare Protocol”), the Eurasian Patent Convention, the European Patent Convention, and the Agreement establishing the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) (hereinafter referred to as “the OAPI Agreement”). The PCT does not eliminate the necessity of prosecuting the international application in the national phase of processing before the national or regional Offices, but it does facilitate such prosecution in several important respects by virtue of the procedures carried out on all international applications during the international phase of processing. The formalities check, the international search and the optional supplementary international search(es) and the likewise optional international preliminary examination carried out during the international phase, as well as the automatic deferral of national processing which is entailed, give the applicant more time and a better basis for deciding whether and in which countries to further pursue the application.

CHAPTER 3: THE INTERNATIONAL PHASE AND THE NATIONAL PHASE OF THE PCT PROCEDURE

3.001. What are the different phases of the PCT?
The PCT procedure consists of two main phases. It begins with the filing of an international application and ends (in the case of a favorable outcome for the applicant) with the grant of a number of national and/or regional patents: hence the terms “international phase” and “national phase.” (The expression “national phase” is used even if the Office before which it takes place is a regional Office.) The expressions “international phase” and “national phase” are not actually used in the PCT, but they are convenient, short expressions which have become customary and are therefore used in this Guide.
3.002
The international phase, which is the subject of this part of the Guide, consists of five stages. The first three occur automatically for all international applications and the last two are optional. The first three steps consist of the filing of the international application by the applicant and its processing by the “receiving Office” (refer to Annex C), the establishment of the international search report and written opinion by one of the “International Searching Authorities” (refer to Annex D), and the publication of the international application together with the international search report by the International Bureau of WIPO (hereinafter referred to as “the International Bureau”). The fourth step includes the establishment of a supplementary international search which may be carried out by one or more of the International Searching Authorities (other than the one that carried out the main international search) resulting in the establishment of a supplementary international search report (refer to Annex SISA). Hereinafter, reference to the “(main) international search” alone does not include reference to the “supplementary international search”, and reference to “international search report” alone does not include reference to “supplementary international search report”, except where otherwise indicated. The third step includes communication of the published international application and the international search report and, where applicable, the supplementary international search report(s), as well as the international preliminary report on patentability (Chapter I of the PCT), by the International Bureau to the national (or regional) Offices from which the applicant wishes to be granted a patent on the basis of the international application (the so-called “designated Offices”). The communication occurs upon request by the designated Office to the International Bureau.
3.003
The optional fifth step involves what is known as international preliminary examination (under Chapter II of the PCT), and is concluded with the establishment of the international preliminary report on patentability (Chapter II of the PCT) by one of the “International Preliminary Examining Authorities” (refer to Annex E). The international preliminary report on patentability (Chapter II of the PCT) analyzes aspects of the general patentability of the invention. Together with the published international application, the international search report and any supplementary international search report, the international preliminary report on patentability (Chapter II of the PCT) is communicated to the national (or regional) Offices from which the applicant wishes to be granted a patent on the basis of the international application (the so-called “elected Offices”). The communication occurs upon request by the elected Office to the International Bureau. International preliminary examination is available subject to certain conditions and qualifications being met; those are discussed in detail in paragraph 10.004.
3.004. What is the national phase of the PCT?
On completion of the international phase, further action is required before and in each of the national (or regional) Offices from which the applicant wishes to be granted a patent on the basis of the international application. In particular, the applicant has to pay to those Offices the required national (or regional) fees, furnish them with any translations that are required and appoint a representative (patent agent) where required. There are time limits by which those steps must be taken if the application is to proceed in the national phase (refer to paragraphs 4.014 to 4.016, 5.005 and 5.006 below). If the steps are not taken within the applicable time limit, the effect of the international application may cease in any State where the time limit has not been met. The national (or regional) Offices then examine the application and grant or refuse the national (or regional) patent on the basis of their national laws. (In the PCT and in this Guide, any reference to “national law” is also a reference to a regional treaty such as the ARIPO Harare Protocol, the Eurasian Patent Convention, the European Patent Convention and the OAPI Agreement – refer to paragraph 2.002.) These procedures before the national (or regional) Offices constitute what is usually referred to as the “national phase” of the PCT procedure and are considered in that part of this Guide.
3.005. When must I enter the national phase before a specific Office?
It is up to the applicant to decide whether and when to enter the national phase before each national (or regional) Office. The international phase continues, for any particular State, until entry into the national phase before the national (or regional) Office concerned or until the expiration of the applicable time limit for entering the national phase before that Office. Since the national phase may be entered before different Offices at different times, the international application may simultaneously be in the international phase for some States and the national phase for others. Where national phase processing or examination has begun before a particular Office, any actions taken on the international application remaining in the international phase have no effect on the proceedings before that Office.

CHAPTER 4: USEFULNESS OF THE PCT FOR APPLICANTS

4.001. What are the advantages of the PCT?
Use of the PCT saves effort - time, work - for any person or firm (“the applicant”) seeking protection for an invention in a number of countries.
4.002
Use of the PCT also helps the applicant to make decisions about the prosecution of the application before the various national Patent Offices in the national phase of processing.
4.003
The saving arises primarily from the fact that, under the PCT, the applicant files one application – the international application – in one place, in one language and pays one initial set of fees, and that this international application has the effect of a national or regional application, which, without the PCT, the applicant would have to file separately for each country or region.
4.004. What is an international search report and a written opinion?
The help to the applicant in the national phase prosecution of the application follows from the “advice” provided in the international search report, a report which is established for each international application, according to high, internationally regulated standards, by one of the Patent Offices that are highly experienced in examining patent applications and that have been specially appointed to carry out international searches. Those Offices are listed in Annex D (“International Searching Authorities”). Detailed advice may also be obtained from the written opinion established by the International Searching Authority which gives a preliminary non-binding opinion on whether the claimed invention appears to be novel, to involve inventive step and to be industrially applicable.
4.005. What is a supplementary international search?
If the applicant so requests (Form PCT/IB/375), a supplementary international search may be carried out, by one or more of the participating International Searching Authorities (refer to Annex SISA) other than the one which carried out the main international search. The supplementary international search report(s) (Form PCT/SISA/501), thus obtained will provide the applicant with a more comprehensive overview of the relevant prior art and enable him/her to better assess the chances of obtaining patent protection for his/her invention (refer to Chapter 8).
4.006
If the applicant files a demand under Chapter II, international preliminary examination is carried out on the basis of the international search report and the written opinion of the International Searching Authority, and concludes with the international preliminary report on patentability (Chapter II of the PCT). Offices qualified to prepare such reports are specifically appointed to carry out international preliminary examinations and are listed in Annex E (“International Preliminary Examining Authorities”). Note that those Offices listed in Annex E are the same as those Offices listed in Annex D (“International Searching Authorities”) since, in order to be appointed International Searching Authority, an Office must also hold an appointment as International Preliminary Examining Authority, and vice versa. The additional benefit for applicants of filing a demand for international preliminary examination is that it provides the applicant with an opportunity to enter into a dialogue with the examiner at the International Preliminary Examining Authority and to possibly amend the international application in order to influence the content of the international preliminary report on patentability (Chapter II of the PCT).
4.007
The advantages offered by the PCT are given in more detail below.
4.008. What is the advantage of filing a PCT application?
By the single act of filing an international application under the PCT, it is possible to secure the very effect that, without the PCT, would require as many filings of separate applications as there are countries or regions in which the applicant seeks protection.
4.009. In which language can I file my international application?
The filing of an international application takes place in one of the languages accepted by the Office with which the application is filed; for many applicants that will be the language, or one of the languages, used by the national or regional Patent Office of, or acting for, their country.
4.010. Where can I file my international application?
The international application is filed in a single place; it is generally filed at the national Patent Office of the applicant’s country or at a regional Patent Office acting for the applicant’s country, or it may be filed direct with the International Bureau in its capacity as a receiving Office under the PCT.
4.011. Are there any formal requirements for my international application?
There is a prescribed form for the international application. This form must be accepted by all designated Offices for the purposes of the national phase, so that there is no need to comply with a great variety of widely differing formal requirements in the many countries in which protection may be sought.
4.012. Where can I pay the fee for my international application?
The international fees payable in respect of the filing of an international application may be paid at one time, at one Office and in one currency. The costs and possible complications connected with the payment, on filing, of many fees in many countries, and generally in different currencies, are thus avoided.
4.013. What are the advantages of the PCT system in comparison to the Paris route?
Before the applicant goes to the effort and expense of having translations prepared, paying the national or regional fees and appointing agents in the various countries, his/her views are able to mature to a greater extent than would be possible without the PCT, not only because the applicant has more time, but also because the international search report, the written opinion of the International Searching Authority, the supplementary international search report(s), and the international preliminary report on patentability (Chapter II of the PCT) constitute a solid basis on which he/she can judge the chances of obtaining protection. Furthermore, any patents subsequently granted by the designated or elected Offices can be relied on by the applicant to a greater extent than would have been the case without the benefit of the international search report, the written opinion of the International Searching Authority, the supplementary international search report(s), and the international preliminary report on patentability (Chapter II of the PCT). Moreover, because of the longer time the applicant has for making decisions, he/she is better placed to assess the technical value and economic interest of patent protection and to select the particular countries in which he/she desires to continue seeking protection for the invention. As a result, substantial savings can be made in both translation and filing costs for those countries which are no longer of interest to the applicant.
4.014
If an international application is filed in a language which is not both a language accepted by the International Searching Authority which is to carry out the international search and a language of publication, it needs to be translated into an appropriate language shortly after filing, but all the translations required by the Offices of or acting for the countries in which the applicant ultimately wishes to obtain protection need to be prepared only much later. Instead of having to be filed within the 12-month priority period, they are generally not required until the expiration of the time limit referred to in paragraph 4.016.
4.015
Fees payable to national or regional Patent Offices similarly become due later than they do without the PCT, and only in the case where the applicant decides to go ahead with the processing of the international application at the national or regional Patent Office. Generally, such national or regional fees must be paid within the same time limit as referred to in paragraph 4.016.
4.016. What is the time limit for entering the national phase?
Since 1 April 2002, the applicable time limit for entering the national phase is 30 months from the priority date (or even later in some cases) for all Offices except those in respect of which the former 20-month time limit remains applicable unless the applicant files a demand for international preliminary examination before the expiration of 19 months from the priority date, in which case the 30-month time limit (or even later in some cases) will also apply. For regular updates on these applicable time limits, refer to the Official Notices (PCT Gazette), the PCT Newsletter, and the relevant National Chapters; a cumulative table is also available from WIPO’s website at: https://www.wipo.int/pct/en/texts/time_limits.html.
4.017
An international search report (and any supplementary international search report) which is favorable from the applicant’s viewpoint strengthens his/her position vis-à-vis the various national or regional Patent Offices, and his/her arguments for the grant of a patent by those Offices are likely to be more convincing.
4.018
This is even more true in the case of a favorable international preliminary report on patentability under either Chapter I or II, which contains far more material on which to base an opinion on the chances of obtaining patents than does an international search report.
4.019
If the international search report and the written opinion of the International Searching Authority are partly favorable and partly unfavorable, the applicant can modify the claims so as to maintain only those which are likely to result in the grant of a patent. If the international search report and the written opinion are unfavorable, and the applicant consequently decides not to proceed any further, he/she saves the cost of having the application processed in the various countries. The same applies to supplementary international search report(s).
4.020
The preceding paragraph also applies in the case of international preliminary reports on patentability under Chapter II of the PCT.
4.021
Important other advantages resulting from use of the PCT route are referred to in this text. They consist, among other things, in savings in the procedure before the designated Offices (for instance, there is no need to provide each Office with original drawings, or certified copies of the priority application, there is a reduction in national fees in several countries and the European Patent Office, etc.).
REGIONAL PATENTS VIA THE PCT
4.022. Can I obtain a regional patent via the PCT ?
Important additional advantages for applicants wishing to protect their inventions in countries party both to any of the various regional patent treaties (refer to paragraph 2.002) and to the PCT result from combined use of the PCT system and those regional systems. Not only is the PCT fully compatible with the regional patent systems, but there are possibilities for advantageous combined use of both kinds of systems by applicants, irrespective of the country in which they file. The following paragraphs deal with the combined use of the PCT with the regional patent systems under which patents may be obtained via the PCT, namely, the ARIPO Harare Protocol, the Eurasian Patent Convention, the European Patent Convention and the OAPI Agreement, via the so-called “ARIPO-PCT route,” “Eurasian-PCT route,” “Euro-PCT route” and “OAPI-PCT route.” In the case of the European Patent Convention, it is also possible to obtain patents through combined use of that Convention and the PCT in the States to which a European patent may be extended or where it may be validated – refer to paragraph 4.026.
4.023
An applicant filing a PCT application and wishing to obtain protection in countries party to any of those regional patent treaties obtains, from the PCT application filed, for example, with the Japan Patent Office (JPO) or with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the effect of a simultaneous filing with each regional Office concerned for the purposes of obtaining a regional patent. In such a case, before taking any action outside his/her home country, the applicant can safely wait until the results of the PCT search procedure (and, optionally, of the international preliminary examination) are known and also make full use of the extended period (refer to paragraph 5.005) by the end of which a translation of the PCT application, if it was not filed in one of the official languages of the regional Office (refer to the various National Chapters), must be submitted and, where required, an agent appointed for the procedure before that Office.
4.024
An applicant may file a PCT application with his/her own national Office as receiving Office, even at the very end of the priority year, and still obtain an immediate automatic filing effect with each of the regional Offices concerned. A further advantage is that, at the time of filing the PCT application, the applicant pays only one initial set of fees. The four regional designations which are presently possible cover more than 50 PCT Contracting States. If, on the other hand, the applicant chooses to file separate regional patent applications on the basis of a first application filed with his/her own national Office, he/she will, by the end of the priority year, have to comply with all the requirements of each of the regional treaties as to formalities, fees and appointment of agents.
4.025. I am a national of a State party to one of the regional patent treaties. May I file an international application to obtain both regional and national protection?
Similar advantages are offered by use of the ARIPO-PCT, Eurasian-PCT, Euro-PCT and OAPI-PCT routes in the reverse direction. In other words, a national of a State party to one of the regional patent treaties or of one of the States to which a European patent may be extended (refer to paragraph 4.026) may, instead of filing separate patent applications with a regional Office and, for instance, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office, choose to file, on the basis of a national application or as a first application, an international application under the PCT containing the designation of all PCT Contracting States for the purposes of obtaining, where applicable, both regional and national patents.
4.026. Can I validate or extend a European patent via the PCT?
A further advantage of the Euro-PCT route is the possibility of making use, where available, of the procedure for extension or validation of European patents. Agreements on extending or validating the protection conferred by European patents have been concluded between the European Patent Organisation and some States which are not party to the European Patent Convention. Provided that the international application contains a designation for a national patent of the State concerned and also a designation for a European patent the applicant may make use of the Euro-PCT route with a view to extending to or validating in that State a European patent subsequently granted on the basis of the international application (refer to paragraph 5.054 and Annex B (EP), as well as National Chapter Summary (EP)).

CHAPTER 5: FILING AN INTERNATIONAL APPLICATION

GENERAL
5.001. What is an international application?
Article 2(vii), Article 3(1)
An application is “international” when it is filed under and with reference to the PCT. It is the first step towards obtaining a patent in or for a State party to the PCT: “in” such a State when a national patent is desired; for such a State when a regional patent (ARIPO, Eurasian, European or OAPI patent) is desired.
5.002. What may be the subject of an international application?
Article 2(i), Article 2(ii), Article 3(1)
An international application must be an application for the protection of an invention. The PCT encompasses the filing of applications for patents for inventions, inventors’ certificates, utility certificates, utility models, and various kinds of patents and certificates of addition (refer to Article 2(i)). An international application thus cannot validly be filed for certain other forms of industrial property rights which fall outside the scope of inventions, such as, for example, purely ornamental designs.
5.003. What are the main effects of an international application?
Article 4(1)(ii), Article 11(3), Article 64(4), Rule 4.9
Any international application has two main effects. One of those effects, generally speaking, is the same as that of a national (or regional) application. It occurs on the date accorded as the international filing date (refer to paragraph 6.005). It is produced in or for the “designated States, ” that is, the States in which or for which the applicant wishes to obtain a patent by filing an international application. For the prior art effect of international applications in the United States of America, refer to National Chapter (US).
5.004. What are “elected States”?
Article 31(1), Article 31(4)(a)
Designated States in respect of which international preliminary examination has been demanded by the applicant are called elected States in the terminology of the PCT.
5.005
Article 22(1), Article 23(1)
Subject to what is said in the following paragraph, the other main effect of an international application is that, normally, no designated Office may process or examine the international application prior to the expiration of 30 months from the priority date (for the definition of “priority date”, refer to paragraph 5.058) and that any fees due to a designated Office and any translation of the international application to be furnished to a designated Office will have to be paid and furnished, respectively, only by the expiration of that 30-month period. In respect of certain designated Offices (currently two), the applicable time limit is the former 20-month time limit (for Luxembourg) or 21-month time limit (for the United Republic of Tanzania), not the 30-month time limit because, due to the incompatibility, for the time being, of the modified PCT provision (PCT Article 22(1)) with the relevant national law, those Offices made a declaration of incompatibility which will remain in effect until it is withdrawn by the respective Offices. Furthermore, certain other designated Offices have fixed time limits expiring even later than 30 months (for more detailed information, refer to paragraph 4.016 and the National Chapters (Summaries)). This effect of the international application is normally referred to as the effect of “delaying” the patent examination and granting procedure before the national (or regional) Offices.
5.006
Article 39(1), Article 40(1)
If international preliminary examination has been demanded before the expiration of 19 months from the priority date, the delaying effect in respect of any State whose designated Office has notified the International Bureau that the 30-month time limit under Article 22(1), as in force from April 1, 2002, is incompatible with the national law applied by that Office, is 10 months longer, so that any fees due to an elected Office and any translation of the international application will have to be paid and furnished, respectively, only by the expiration of 30 months from the priority date. (For more detailed information refer to the National Phase and National Chapters. Later time limits apply in some Offices.)
5.007. Can I claim priority from an international filing date?
Article 8, Article 11(4)
An international application which has been accorded an international filing date is the equivalent of a “regular national filing” within the meaning of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property and, consequently, may be invoked as the basis of a priority claim in a national, regional or other international application filed subsequently within the time limit and subject to the conditions provided for in that Convention.
5.008. Where should an international application be filed?
Article 10, Rule 19.1(a), Rule 19.2
Annexes B indicate, for each Contracting State, the authorities with which its nationals and residents may, as applicants, file international applications. In the terminology of the PCT, these authorities are called “receiving Offices” (because they receive international applications). They are listed with their full names and addresses, their telephone, facsimile numbers and, where available, their e-mail and/or Internet addresses, in Annexes B, and the requirements of each receiving Office are listed in Annex C. Where there are several applicants who are not all nationals and/or residents of the same Contracting State, any receiving Office of or acting for a Contracting State of which at least one of the applicants is a resident or national is competent to receive an international application filed by those applicants. Alternatively, at the applicant’s option, the international application may be filed with the International Bureau as receiving Office, regardless of the Contracting State of which the applicant is a resident or national. If there are two or more applicants, the international application may be filed with the International Bureau as receiving Office if at least one of the applicants is a resident or national of a Contracting State. Residents or nationals of States which are party to the PCT and also to the ARIPO Harare Protocol, to the Eurasian Patent Convention, to the European Patent Convention, or to the OAPI Agreement generally also have the option of filing an international application with the ARIPO Office, the Eurasian Patent Office, the European Patent Office, or the OAPI Office, respectively. Compliance with any national security prescriptions applicable under national law is the applicant’s responsibility. As to measures which may be applied by receiving Offices in connection with such prescriptions, refer to paragraph 6.010.
5.009. Can I chose between different receiving Offices to file my international application?
Article 31(2)(a), Rule 18.1, Rule 54
Applicants may have a choice between several receiving Offices, for example, where there are two or more applicants whose States of nationality and residence include more than one Contracting State, or where a sole applicant has nationality and/or residence in more than one Contracting State.
5.010. What are the elements of an international application?
Article 3(2), Article 7
Any international application must contain the following elements: request, description, claim or claims, one or more drawings (where drawings are necessary for the understanding of the invention), and abstract. Detailed information on each is given below.
5.011. What is the order of the elements of the international application?
Section 207(a)
The elements of the international application must be arranged in the following order: request, description, claim(s), abstract, drawing(s) (if any). Any sequence listing part of the description must be provided as a separate electronic file (XML).
5.012. How must the sheets of an international application be numbered?
Rule 11.7(a), Section 207(b)
All the sheets constituting the international application must be numbered in consecutive Arabic numerals with three series of numbers: the first applying to the request, the second applying to the part consisting of the description, the claim(s) and the abstract (refer to paragraph 5.106), and the third applying to the drawings (refer to paragraph 5.140).
5.013. What language must be used for an international application?
Article 3(4)(i), Rule 12.1(a), Rule 12.1(c), Rule 12.1(d), Rule 12.4(a-bis), Rule 48.3(b)
The language in which an international application must be filed depends on the receiving Office. Some receiving Offices allow the applicant to choose between two or more languages. For any sequence listing part of the description, the language requirements apply only to the language-dependent free text in the sequence listing. The language or languages which may be used for filing an international application, including the language-dependent free text in any sequence listing, with a given receiving Office are indicated in Annex C. If the international application is filed in a language other than Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish (that is, the languages in which international applications may be published – refer to paragraphs 9.017 to 9.020), or if the language in which the international application is filed is not accepted by the International Searching Authority which is to carry out the international search (refer to paragraph 7.002 and Annex D), a translation of the international application will need to be furnished for the purposes of international search and/or international publication. A translation may also be required for the purposes of the supplementary international search if neither the language in which the international application is filed or published nor that in which the translation is furnished for the purposes of the main international search is accepted by the Authority which is to carry out the supplementary international search (refer to Annex SISA). Furthermore, a translation may also be required for the purposes of the international preliminary examination if the language in which the international application is filed or published is not accepted by the International Preliminary Examining Authority which is to carry out the international preliminary examination (refer to Annex E). For any sequence listing part of the description, the translation requirements apply only to the language-dependent free text in the sequence listing. The requirements in relation to languages and the furnishing of translations are explained in greater detail in paragraphs 6.013 to 6.020, 8.012, 9.017 to 9.019 and 10.011. Those requirements operate, in most cases, in such a way that only one translation would need to be furnished for the purposes of the international phase of processing. All elements of the international application must normally be in the same language, with the exception of the language-dependent free text in a sequence listing if permitted by the receiving Office. However, the request must be in a language of publication which the receiving Office accepts for that purpose (refer to Annex C), and the text matter of the drawings (if any) and the abstract may be in the language in which the international application is to be published (refer to paragraphs 6.018 and 6.019).
5.014
Rule 19.4(a)(ii)
For the case where an international application is not filed in a language accepted by the receiving Office with which it is filed, refer to paragraph 6.034.
THE REQUEST
5.015. What is the form of the request?
Rule 3.1, Rule 3.2, Rule 3.4, Rule 4, Rule 89ter, Section 102
Where the international application is filed on paper, the request must be made on a printed form (Form PCT/RO/101) to be filled in with the required indications or be presented as a computer print-out complying with the Administrative Instructions. A filled-in sample and a blank copy of the Form PCT/RO/101 are available from the Internet website address indicated below. Any prospective applicant may also obtain copies of the printed request Form PCT/RO/101, free of charge, from the receiving Office with which he/she plans to file an international application or from the International Bureau. To facilitate preparation of the request, the International Bureau has prepared downloadable PDF (portable document format) versions on its website. These may be downloaded from https://www.wipo.int/pct/en/forms/ and completed using a computer or printed out and filled in using a typewriter. The request, and instructions on how to complete the editable version, is also available from that site.
5.016. Which indications must the request contain?
Article 4(1), Article 43, Article 44, Article 45, Rule 3, Rule 4.1, Rule 4.9(a), Rule 4.10, Rule 4.11, Rule 4.14bis, Rule 4.15
The request contains a petition for the international application to be processed according to the PCT and must also contain certain indications. It must contain the title of the invention. It must identify the applicant, (normally) the inventor, and the agent (if any). The filing of a request constitutes the designation of all Contracting States bound by the PCT on the international filing date, for the grant of every kind of protection available and for the grant of both regional and national patents. The request should also contain, where applicable, a priority claim, an indication of the applicant’s choice of competent International Searching Authority and a reference to any relevant earlier international, international-type or other search. The request must be signed. Details for the filling in of the request form are given below in respect of each Box of that form. As to the language of the request, refer to paragraph 5.013.
5.017. Must I indicate a file reference?
Section 109
It is recommended that the applicant indicate his/her file reference, if any, not exceeding 25 characters in length, in the box provided for this purpose on the first sheet of the request form. The file reference may be composed either of letters of the Latin alphabet or Arabic numerals, or both. The hyphen character (“-“) may be used as a separator between alphanumeric characters. The receiving Office, International Bureau, International Searching Authority and International Preliminary Examining Authority will use the file reference in correspondence with the applicant (refer to also to paragraphs 5.105, 10.015 and 11.071 as to the indication of file references on other elements of, or papers relating to, the international application).
5.018. Are there any physical requirements for the requests?
Rule 11.9(d)
Physical Requirements. Any text matter in the request must be in characters the capital letters of which are not less than 0.21 cm high.
Box No. I: Title of Invention
5.019. What are the requirements with respect to the title of the invention?
Rule 4.3, Rule 5.1(a)
The title of the invention must be short (preferably two to seven words, when in English or translated into English) and precise. The same title must be given by the applicant in Box No. I of the request and at the beginning of the description (refer to paragraph 5.094).
Boxes Nos. II and III: Applicants; Inventors
5.020. Who may file an international application?
Article 9(1), Article 9(3), Rule 18.1, Rule 18.3
Any resident or national of a Contracting State may file an international application. Where there are two or more applicants, at least one of them must be a national or a resident of a Contracting State. The Contracting States are listed in Annex A. As to questions of residence and nationality, refer to paragraph 5.023.
5.021. [Deleted]
5.022. May I indicate different applicants for the various designated States?
Article 9(3), Section 203(b)
In any international application, different applicants may be indicated for the various designated States. Note, however, that where more than one type of protection is available for a Contracting State (refer to paragraph 5.055 and Annex B), different applicants may not be indicated for different types of protection, furthermore for the national and regional designation of a State, the same applicant or applicants must be indicated.
5.023. How are questions of residence and nationality determined?
Rule 18.1
The question whether an applicant is a resident or national of a Contracting State depends on the national law of that State and is decided by the receiving Office. In any case, however, possession of a real and effective industrial or commercial establishment in a Contracting State is considered residence in that State, and a legal entity constituted according to the national law of a Contracting State is considered a national of that State. Where a question of the applicant’s residence or nationality arises in connection with an international application filed with the International Bureau as receiving Office, the International Bureau will request the national Office of, or acting for, the Contracting State concerned to decide the question and will inform the applicant of such request. The applicant has the opportunity to submit arguments relating to the issue of residence or nationality directly to that national Office, which will decide the question promptly.
5.024. How must the applicant be identified?
Rule 4.5
The applicant must be identified by the indication of his/her name and address and by marking next to that indication, the check-box “This person is also inventor” in Box No. II, or “applicant and inventor” in Box No. III, where the applicant is also the inventor or one of the inventors, or the check-box “applicant only” where the applicant is not also the inventor or one of the inventors. Where the applicant is a corporation or other legal entity (that is, not a natural person), the check-box “applicant only” must be marked. Where the applicant is registered with the receiving Office, the number or other indication under which the applicant is so registered may also be indicated in Boxes No. II or III. The applicant’s nationality and residence must also be indicated (refer to paragraph 5.031). For the identification of the inventor, refer to paragraph 5.035. For later changes in the person, name and address of the applicant, refer to paragraphs 11.018 to 11.022.
5.025. How must names be indicated in the request?
Rule 4.4(a), Rule 4.19(a)
The names of natural persons must be indicated by the family name followed by the given name(s). Academic degrees or titles or other indications which are not part of the person’s name must be omitted. The family name should preferably be written in capital letters (refer to filled-in sample of the request form at the address indicated in paragraph 5.015).
5.026
Rule 4.4(b)
The name of a legal entity must be indicated by its full official designation (preferably in capital letters).
5.027. How must addresses be indicated in the request?
Rule 4.4(c)
Addresses must be indicated in such a way as to satisfy the requirements for prompt postal delivery at the address indicated and must consist of all the relevant administrative units up to and including the house number (if any). The address must also include the country.
5.028. When is the indication of a telephone number, a facsimile number or an e-mail address recommended?
Rule 4.4(c)
It is recommended that the telephone number, facsimile number and e-mail address of the applicant, named first in the request, be given, if no agent or common representative is indicated in Box No. IV (refer to paragraphs 5.041 to 5.051). In order to allow rapid and safe receipt of notifications from Offices, it is strongly recommended that an e-mail address is provided to receive notifications.
5.029. Does the receiving Office or other PCT Authorities send notifications by e-mail?
If an e-mail address is indicated in Box No. II of the request form, the receiving Office, the International Searching Authority (also in its capacity as Authority specified for supplementary search), if they provide such a service, and the International Bureau will send notifications in respect of the international application to the applicant by e-mail, thus avoiding processing or postal delays. Note that, in this case, no paper notifications will usually be sent by postal mail, unless the relevant Office is willing to additionally send such paper notifications. Details of which Authorities will send notifications by e-mail are included in Annex B. If no e-mail address is provided, or if the applicant chooses to receive notifications exclusively by postal mail, by marking the corresponding check-box in Box No. II, or in the cases where the receiving Office or the International Searching Authority (also in its capacity as Authority specified for supplementary search), does not provide for sending notifications by e-mail, notifications will be sent to the given mailing address exclusively by postal mail. It is the applicant’s responsibility to keep any e-mail address details up-to-date and to ensure that incoming e-mails are not blocked, for any reason, on the recipient’s side. Changes to the e-mail address indicated in the request should be requested to be recorded, preferably directly at the International Bureau, under Rule 92bis (refer to paragraphs 11.018 to 11.022).
5.030. May a special address be given for the sending of correspondence?
Rule 4.4(d)
Only one address may be indicated for each applicant in Box No. II or III. However, where no agent, or common representative, is indicated in Box No. IV of the request, a special address for correspondence may be indicated in that Box. Where an applicant is indicated in Box No. IV as common representative, an address for correspondence may be indicated in that Box (refer to paragraphs 5.047 and 5.051) other than the address given for that applicant in Box No. II or III.
5.031. Why and how must the nationality and residence of the applicant be indicated in the request?
Article 9(1), Rule 18, Rule 19
This information is needed to determine whether the applicant is entitled to file an international application and also to determine the competence of the receiving Office. It must be provided by an indication of the names of the country of which the applicant is a national and of the country of which he/she is a resident. Where the country of residence is not indicated specifically but a country is indicated in the address, it will be assumed that the country of residence is the country indicated in the address. For the procedure where an international application is filed with a “non-competent” receiving Office, refer to paragraph 6.035. For the manner of indicating names of countries, refer to paragraph 5.033.
5.032. Must the indications in respect of applicants be provided for all applicants?
Rule 26.2bis(b)
If there is more than one applicant, it is advisable that the indications outlined in paragraphs 5.024 to 5.031 are provided in respect of all applicants. However, if the indication of the address, nationality and residence has been provided in respect of at least one applicant who is entitled to file the international application with the receiving Office, the receiving Office will not invite the applicant to furnish the missing indications in respect of any other applicant.
5.033. How must the names of States be indicated?
Section 115
The name of any State may be indicated either by the full name of the State or by a short title or two-letter code or any combination thereof. This principle applies for the indication of the names of States in all Boxes of the request where such names must be indicated. Annex K contains a comprehensive list of the short names and two-letter codes accepted for use in indicating countries, territories and intergovernmental organizations (and their Offices) in documents relating to international applications under the PCT. The list is as set out in WIPO Standard ST.3, which is published in the WIPO Handbook on Industrial Property Information and Documentation and available on the Internet site at https://www.wipo.int/standards/en/pdf/03-03-01.pdf.
5.034. Which of several applicants should be named first?
It is recommended that the applicant who will represent all the applicants and to whom notifications are to be sent be named first, since he will be considered to be the common representative of all the applicants if no common agent or common representative is appointed and if that applicant is entitled to file an international application with the receiving Office (refer to paragraph 5.048). However, if a common agent representing all applicants or a common representative is indicated in Box No. IV of the request, notices will be sent to that common agent or common representative. (Also refer to paragraphs 11.015 to 11.017.)
5.035. When and how must the inventor be identified?
Article 4(1)(v), Article 4(4), Rule 4.1(a)(iv), Rule 4.6
Where the person identified in Box No. II as applicant is also the inventor, it is sufficient to mark the check-box "This person is also inventor." No repetition of the name and address of the inventor is required in Box No. III. Where the inventor is identified in Box No. III, the check-box "applicant and inventor" must be marked if the inventor is also applicant; the check-box "inventor only" must be marked if the inventor is not also applicant. Where the inventor is not the same for all designated States, refer to paragraph 5.038. Where the inventor is deceased, refer to paragraphs 11.023 to 11.026.
5.036. When must I mark the check-box “inventor only” in the request form?
Article 4(4), Rule 4.1(c)(i)
Where the inventor is not also an applicant, the check-box “inventor only” must be marked and his/her name and address must be indicated in one of the sub-boxes of Box No. III. The name and address of the inventor may be omitted from the request where the national law of none of the designated States requires that the name of the inventor be furnished at the time of filing a national application. Annexes B indicate what the requirements are for each Contracting State or intergovernmental organization. However, unless special reasons prevent the indication of the name and address of the inventor, it is recommended that it always be included in the request since such information is generally required in the national phase.
5.037. Must I indicate the inventor’s name and address in the request form?
Rule 4.4
As regards the indication of the name and address of the inventor, what is said in this respect for the applicant, in paragraphs 5.025 and 5.027, also applies. An indication of the country of which the inventor is a national or resident is not required unless the inventor is also applicant. For later changes in the person, name or address of the inventor, refer to paragraphs 11.018 and 11.020.
5.038. What must be done if the inventors are not the same for all designated States?
Rule 4.6(c)
The PCT permits different inventors to be indicated for different designated States where, in this respect, the requirements of the national laws of the designated States are not the same. For the manner of indicating for which designated States the person named is the inventor, refer to item 1(iii) of the Supplemental Box of the request form (refer to filled-in sample of the request form at the address indicated in paragraph 5.015). Where, and this is the usual case, all the inventors are the same for all designated States, no special indication in the Supplemental Box is required.
5.039. How, in the case of several applicants, are the designated States for which they are applicants to be identified?
Details concerning the designation of States in general are given in paragraphs 5.052 to 5.054 below. At the bottom of Box No. II and of each sub-box of Box No. III, there are two check-boxes (refer to filled-in sample of the request form at the address indicated in paragraph 5.015). One (but only one) of those check-boxes must be marked for the applicant identified in Box No. II and for each further applicant, if any. Neither should be marked if the person identified in any of the sub-boxes of Box No. III is "inventor only." An explanation of the two check-boxes is given below, separately for Box No. II and Box No. III.
Box No. II:
“⬜ all designated States”
This check-box must be marked where the person identified in Box No. II is and qualifies as applicant for all designated States.
“⬜ the States indicated in the Supplemental Box”
This check-box must be marked only in special cases where the applicant is not an applicant for all designated States: Where, for example, each of three applicants is applicant for different States, the indication of the States for which the person identified in Box No. II is applicant must be made in the Supplemental Box of the request form (refer to the explanation given below in relation to the sub-boxes of Box No. III for the other two applicants in such a case). The manner in which the Supplemental Box is to be used is explained in detail in item 1(ii) of the Supplemental Box itself (refer to filled-in sample of the request form at the address indicated in paragraph 5.015)
Box No. III:
“⬜ all designated States”
This check-box must be marked where the person identified in the sub-box as "applicant and inventor" or as "applicant only" is and qualifies as applicant for all designated States.
“⬜ the States indicated in the Supplemental Box”
This check-box must be marked only in special cases where the applicant is not an applicant for all designated States. Where, for example, each of three applicants is applicant for different States, the indication of the States for which each of the two further applicants identified in a sub-box of Box No. III as "applicant and inventor" or "applicant only" must be made in the Supplemental Box of the request form (refer to the explanation given above in relation to the sub-boxes of Box No. II for the first applicant). The manner in which the Supplemental Box is to be used is explained in detail in item 1(ii) of the Supplemental Box itself (refer to filled-in sample of the request form at the address indicated in paragraph 5.015).
5.040. [Deleted]
Box No. IV: Agent or Common Representative
5.041. Does the applicant have to be represented by an agent before the receiving Office, the International Bureau and other International Authorities under the PCT?
Article 27(7), Article 49, Rule 2.2, Rule 90.1
Annex C indicates, for each receiving Office, whether the applicant has to be represented by an agent. As already stated (refer to paragraph 1.004), in view of the importance of careful preparation of the international application and of its proper processing, it is in any case highly advisable for applicants to use the services of a professional patent attorney or patent agent.
5.042. Who may be appointed to act as an agent?
Article 49, Rule 83.1bis, Section 106
Any person who can act as an agent before the Office which acts as receiving Office (refer to Annex C) may be appointed as an agent for any international application filed with that Office. Where the international application is filed with the International Bureau as receiving Office, any person who has the right to practice before the national (or regional) Office of, or acting for, a Contracting State of which the applicant (or, if there are two or more applicants, any of the applicants) is a resident or national may be appointed as agent (refer to Annex C). An appointed agent who has the right to represent the applicant before the receiving Office is automatically also entitled to act before the International Bureau, the International Searching Authority and the International Preliminary Examining Authority.
5.043. How is an agent to be appointed?
Article 4(1)(iii), Rule 4.1(a)(iii), Rule 4.7, Rule 90.3
Subject to paragraph 5.044 an agent may be appointed by designation in Box No. IV of the request (refer to filled-in sample of the request form at the address indicated in paragraph 5.015) if the international application is signed by the applicant (also refer to paragraphs 5.088 and 5.089). Otherwise the appointment of the agent must be in a separate document (“power of attorney”) signed by the applicant. The indication in Box No. IV of the request or in the power of attorney must contain the name and address of the agent in the manner indicated in paragraphs 5.025 to 5.028. It is recommended that the agent’s telephone number facsimile number and/or e-mail address also be indicated. In order to allow rapid and safe receipt of notifications from Offices, it is strongly recommended that an e-mail address is provided to receive notifications. Where the agent is registered with the receiving Office, the number or other indication under which the agent is so registered may also be indicated. Where there are several applicants, an agent representing all of them may be appointed by designation in the request or by a separate power of attorney or by a combination of both methods, provided that all the applicants have signed either the request or a separate power of attorney. Model powers of attorney are available in editable PDF format on the WIPO website at: https://www.wipo.int/pct/en/forms/pa/index.html. The separate power of attorney must be submitted to the receiving Office or to the International Bureau or, if the appointment was made specifically for the purposes of the procedure before the International Searching Authority or International Preliminary Examining Authority, to the Authority concerned (refer to paragraph 5.045). Where a general power of attorney authorizes an agent to represent the applicant before the Office which acts as receiving Office, and where that general power includes the filing of international applications, a copy of the general power of attorney originally submitted to the receiving Office must accompany any international application in relation to which the appointment made in it is to be exercised unless this requirement has been waived by the receiving Office concerned (refer to paragraph 5.044), and reference must be made to that copy in Box No. IX of the request. It is to be noted that general powers of attorney must be deposited with the receiving Office (not with the International Bureau, except where the international application is filed with the International Bureau as receiving Office) or, if the appointment was made specifically for the purposes of the procedure before the International Searching Authority or International Preliminary Examining Authority, with the Authority concerned (refer to paragraph 5.045).
5.044. Is it always necessary to submit a power of attorney or a copy of my general power of attorney with my international application?
Rule 90.4(d), Rule 90.4(e), Rule 90.5(c), Rule 90.5(d)
Any receiving Office, International Searching Authority, International Preliminary Examining Authority or the International Bureau may waive the requirement that a separate power of attorney be submitted to it. Any receiving Office, International Searching Authority, or International Preliminary Examining Authority may waive the requirement that a copy of a general power of attorney is attached to the request, the demand or a separate notice. The receiving Office or Authority may waive these requirements in general or only for certain cases. In cases where either waiver is applicable, no separate power of attorney or copy of a general power of attorney needs to be furnished by the applicant. Any such waiver and any conditions relating thereto are published in the Official Notices (PCT Gazette) (also refer to Annexes C, D and E). Please note that a separate power of attorney or a copy of a general power of attorney must, in any event, still be furnished for any case of withdrawal, even if the requirement has been waived for other cases. Any waiver made by a receiving Office only applies in respect of that Office but not necessarily in respect of other Authorities involved in the PCT procedure. Regarding signature requirements, refer to paragraphs 5.088 to 5.091; for special provisions regarding withdrawals, refer to paragraphs 11.048 to 11.061.
5.045. May I appoint a new agent or additional agents after having filed the international application?
Rule 90.1(d)(ii), Rule 90.6(b)
Further agents may be appointed at any time to represent the applicant either generally or specifically before the International Searching Authority or the International Preliminary Examining Authority, and an agent appointed for general purposes, unless otherwise indicated in the document appointing that agent, may appoint sub-agents to represent the applicant. The appointment of a new agent is treated as revocation of any former appointment of agents, unless otherwise indicated in the power of attorney appointing the new agent.
5.046
Article 27(7), Rule 4.7, Rule 90.3
If representation by an agent before the receiving Office is required (refer to paragraph 5.041), it is advisable that the agent be appointed by the time the international application is filed to ensure that the international application will be accepted for processing by the receiving Office. The practice of the receiving Office with regard to enforcing the requirement that an agent be appointed is, generally the same as that observed by it in the case of national (or regional) applications. If the appointment of an agent is not obligatory, an appointment may be made either at the time of filing the international application or later.
5.047. Is the person who signs the request for a corporate applicant regarded as an agent?
The answer depends on the nature of the authorization to act for the corporate applicant - that is, on whether the person signs on behalf of the corporate applicant or as an appointed agent. If the name of that person is indicated in Box No. IV and the check-box "agent" is marked, the person will be regarded as an agent and a power of attorney may be required. If the corporate applicant is indicated in that Box and the check-box "common representative" is marked, the person who signs will not be regarded as an agent. The mere fact that a person is indicated as part of the address for correspondence to the corporate applicant as common representative (refer to paragraph 5.051) does not mean that the person will be regarded as an agent.
5.048. Can one of several applicants represent all of them as a common representative?
Rule 2.2bis, Rule 90.2
If a common agent is not appointed by all the applicants, one of the applicants may be appointed by the other applicants as the common representative of all the applicants (refer to paragraph 11.005). If neither a common agent nor a common representative is appointed, the first-named applicant who has a right to file an international application with the receiving Office concerned is automatically considered to be the deemed common representative of all the applicants (refer to paragraph 11.006).
5.049
A more detailed explanation of the provisions relating to agents and common representatives appears in paragraphs 11.001 to 11.014.
5.050. Will I receive notifications by e-mail?
If an e-mail address is indicated, in Box No. IV of the request form, the receiving Office, the International Searching Authority (also in its capacity as Authority specified for supplementary search), if they provide such a service, and the International Bureau will send notifications in respect of the international application to the agent or common representative at the indicated e-mail address, thus avoiding processing or postal delays. Note that, in this case, no paper notifications will usually be sent by postal mail, unless the relevant Office is willing to additionally send such paper notifications. If no e-mail address is provided, or if the agent or common representative chooses to receive notifications exclusively by postal mail, by marking the corresponding check-box in Box No. IV, or in the cases where the receiving Office or the International Searching Authority (also in its capacity as Authority specified for supplementary search), does not provide for sending notifications by e-mail, notifications will be sent to the given mailing address exclusively by postal mail. Where an e-mail address has been provided both in respect of the applicant and in respect of an agent or common representative, e-mail notifications will only be sent to the appointed agent or common representative (also refer to paragraph 5.029).
5.051. When and how may a special address for correspondence be given?
Rule 4.4(d), Section 108
Correspondence is sent to the appointed agent or common representative, if any. Where no agent or common representative is appointed, any correspondence will be sent to the address, indicated in Box No. II or III, of the applicant (if only one person is named as applicant) or of the applicant who is considered to be the common representative (if there are two or more persons named as applicants) (refer to paragraphs 5.048 and 11.006). However, if the applicant wishes correspondence to be sent to a different address, in such a case, that address must be indicated in Box No. IV instead of the indication of an agent or common representative. In this case, and only in this case, the last check-box of Box No. IV must be marked (that is, the last check-box must not be marked if either of the check-boxes "agent" or "common representative" in Box No. IV has been marked).
Box No. V: Designation of States
5.052. What is the designation of States?
Article 4(1)(ii), Article 11(1)(iii)(b), Rule 4.9(a)
The designation of States is the indication of Contracting States in or for which the applicant may seek protection for his invention. For international applications filed after 1 January 2004, the filing of the request automatically constitutes:
(i) the designation of all Contracting States that are bound by the Treaty on the international filing date;
(ii) an indication that the international application is, in respect of each designated State to which Article 43 or 44 applies, for the grant of every kind of protection which is available by way of the designation of that State; and
(iii) an indication that the international application is, in respect of each designated State to which Article 45(1) applies, for the grant of a regional patent and also, unless Article 45(2) applies, a national patent.
This is also valid where the applicant does not use the request Form PCT/RO/101 issued on 1 January 2004, or thereafter, or where the international filing date is changed to a date either on, or after, 1 January 2004.
5.053. Can any States be excluded from the automatic and all-inclusive designation of PCT Contracting States?
Rule 4.9(b)
As an exception to the automatic and all-inclusive designation of Contracting States, Germany, Japan and the Republic of Korea may be excluded from being designated. The reason for this exception is that these States have notified the International Bureau that the national law applied by their designated Offices contains provisions to the effect that the filing of an international application which contains the designation of that State and which claims the priority of an earlier national application having effect in the same State, has the result that the earlier national application ceases to have effect. Check-boxes can therefore be marked when an applicant wants to avoid undesired loss of the national priority application. Further details relating to this issue, and particular conditions which may apply, are explained in Annex B in respect of these States.
5.054. Is the procedure for extending or validating a European patent to or in a country having an Extension or Validation Agreement with the European Patent Organisation available through the filing of an international application?
A European patent granted on an international application may, if the necessary conditions are met, be extended to or validated in a State having an Extension or Validation Agreement to that effect with the European Patent Organisation. The procedure is available through the filing of an international application as the filing of the request constitutes the designation of all States, including the designation of the European Patent Office and the designation for a national patent of all States having concluded an Extension or Validation Agreement, and which are also PCT Contracting States. Annex B (EP) contains information as to the States to which European patents may be so extended. Details of the applicable procedure, including the steps to be taken on entering the national phase and fees payable, have been published in the Official Journal of the European Patent Office (No. 1-2/1994, pages 75 to 88, No. 11/1997, pages 538 to 542 and 2/2015, A18-A20); also refer to the National Chapter Summary (EP).
5.055. Is it possible to choose a kind of protection other than a patent, and if so how is it done?
Article 4(1)(ii), Article 4(3), Article 43, Article 44, Rule 4.1(b)(iii), Rule 4.11, Rule 49bis.1
As indicated in paragraph 5.052, the filing of the request constitutes the indication that the international application is, in respect of each designated State to which Article 43 or 44 applies, for the grant of every kind of protection which is available by way of the designation of that State. Examples of such kinds of protection are an inventor’s certificate, a utility certificate, a utility model, a “petty patent”, a patent of addition, a certificate of addition or an inventor’s certificate of addition. It is not possible, during the international phase, to indicate the wish to obtain a certain kind of protection for a particular designated Office. Any further choice of the kind of protection sought can only be made at the time of national phase entry before the respective designated Offices. Please note, however, that it is possible to withdraw a certain type of protection in respect of the designation of a State. Annexes B indicate, for each Contracting State, the kinds of protection available.
5.056. Is it necessary to include any parent information in the international application?
Where, when entering the national phase, a title (patent, certificate, inventor’s certificate) of addition is sought, or where the applicant wishes the international application to be treated as an application for a continuation or a continuation-in-part, the applicant may indicate this information and the parent application or grant following the name of the designated State in the “Supplemental Box” (refer to item 2 or 3 of that Supplemental Box).
5.056A. Is it possible to correct or add any indication concerning reference to continuation or continuation-in-part, parent application or grant made in the request form?
Rule 26quater, Section 317bis, Section 419bis
The applicant may correct or add to the request any indication referred to in Rule 4.11 by a notice submitted to the International Bureau within a time limit of 16 months from the priority date, provided that any notice which is received by the International Bureau after the expiration of that time limit shall be considered to have been received on the last day of that time limit if the notice reaches the International Bureau before the technical preparations for international publication have been completed. The International Bureau will notify the applicant of any indication corrected or added under Rule 26quater.1. If a notice under Rule 26quater.1 is submitted by the applicant to the receiving Office, that Office will mark the date of receipt on the notice and transmit it promptly to the International Bureau. The notice shall then be considered to have been received by the International Bureau on the date marked. Where any correction or addition of an indication referred to in Rule 4.11 is not timely received, the International Bureau will inform the applicant that such an indication or correction should be submitted directly to the designated Office or Offices concerned.
Box No. VI: Priority Claim and Restoration of the Right of Priority
5.057. How may the priority of an earlier application be claimed?
Article 8(1), Rule 4.1(b)(i), Rule 4.10
Any international application may contain a declaration claiming the priority of one or more earlier applications filed in or for any country party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property or in or for a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) that is not party to that Convention (refer to https://www.wipo.int/pct/en/paris_wto_pct.html). Note that where priority is claimed of an earlier filing in or for a WTO member which is not party to the Paris Convention, a PCT Contracting State that is not a Member of the WTO is not required to recognize the effects of such a priority claim. An earlier regional (ARIPO, Eurasian, European, OAPI or any other similar regional organization providing for the grant of regional patents and where at least one of the countries party to that regional patent treaty is party also to the Paris Convention or the WTO) application or an earlier international application can also serve as a basis for a priority claim. Any priority claim must be made in the request. The priority claim must contain the necessary indications which allow the earlier application to be uniquely identified. If the earlier application was a national application, it must indicate the country in which it was filed, the date on which it was filed and the number under which it was filed. Where the earlier application was a regional application, the priority claim must indicate the Office with which it was filed; only where not all countries party to the regional patent treaty under which the earlier application was filed are also party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (the Paris Convention) or are also members of the WTO must the priority claim indicate at least one country party to the Paris Convention or at least one member of the WTO for which that earlier regional application was filed. Where the earlier application was an international application, the priority claim must indicate the receiving Office with which it was filed. The two-letter code (refer to Annex K and paragraph 5.033) may be used for the indication of the country or, where applicable, for the Office of filing. Subject to certain conditions, priority claims may be corrected and added, after the international application has been filed, by a notice submitted to the receiving Office or to the International Bureau (refer to paragraphs 6.038 to 6.044).
5.058. What does “priority date” mean?
Article 2(xi)
Where the international application contains a priority claim, “priority date” means the filing date of the application whose priority is claimed. Where the international application does not contain such a claim, “priority date” means the filing date of the international application. Where the international application contains two or more claims, “priority date” means the filing date of the earliest application whose priority is claimed.
5.059. What does “priority period” mean?
Rule 2.4, Rule 80.5
“Priority period” means the period of 12 months from the filing date of the earlier application whose priority is claimed in the international application. The day of filing of the earlier application is not included in this period. Subject to what is said below, in order to validly claim priority, an international application must always be filed within the priority period; otherwise, the right of priority will be lost. Note that, in certain cases (refer to Rules 2.4(b) and 80.5) the priority period may expire on a later day. Note further that, if the international application is filed after the expiration of the priority period but within a certain time limit, it may be possible, under limited circumstances, to request restoration of the right of priority (refer to paragraphs 5.062 to 5.069; this, however, will not apply to all Contracting States).
5.060. What are the principles governing the right of priority for international applications?
Article 8(1), Article 8(2)(a), Article 11(3), Article 11(4), Rule 4.10
The PCT makes no change to the provisions which govern the right of priority and are contained in Article 4 of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property; WTO members are required to apply Paris Convention Article 4 in accordance with Article 2.1 of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement). Since an international application has the effect in each designated State of a regular national application, it may claim priority from another application, and be used as the basis for a priority claim in a later application, just like any regular national application. So far as PCT procedures are concerned, the priority claim is particularly important because it establishes a priority date for the purposes of computing time limits under the PCT. The validity of a priority claim is not determined during the international phase (although the matter is taken into consideration for the purposes of establishing international preliminary reports on patentability (Chapter I or II of the PCT)). Also, a priority claim would, subject to the possibility of correction (refer to paragraphs 6.038 to 6.044), for the purposes of the procedure under the PCT, be considered not to have been made if the application, the priority of which is claimed, was not filed either in a country party to the Paris Convention or in a member of the WTO, if the international application were filed more than two months after the expiration of the priority period (refer to paragraphs 5.062 and 6.038) or if the priority claim did not include the required details concerning the date on which and the country and/or Office, as the case may be, where the earlier application was filed.
5.061. How must dates be indicated in the priority claim?
Section 110
Each date appearing in the international application or in any correspondence must be indicated by the Arabic number of the day, the name of the month and the Arabic number of the year, in that order. In the request, after, below or above that indication, the date should be repeated in parentheses with a two-digit Arabic numeral each for the number of the day and the number of the month, the number of the year must be indicated in four digits, in that order and separated by periods, slants or hyphens, for example: "20 March 2006 (20.03.2006) or 20 March 2006 (20/03/2006) or 20 March 2006 (20-03-2006)."
5.062. What are the consequences if the international application is filed after the expiration of the priority period?
Rule 26bis.3
Where an international application has an international filing date which is later than the date on which the priority period expired (refer to paragraph 5.059) but within a period of two months from that date, the priority claim concerned will not be declared void for the purposes of the international phase of the PCT procedure, irrespective of whether the restoration of the right of priority is requested (refer to below), or whether such a request is accepted or refused by the receiving Office. Where the priority claim in question is the only or the earliest priority claim in the international application, it will continue to serve as the basis to calculate all time limits during the international phase. Note, however, that the fact that the priority claim is retained in the international application does not mean in any way that the validity of such a priority claim in the national phase is assured.
In respect of such a priority claim, the applicant may file a request for the restoration of the right of priority with the receiving Office (refer to the following paragraphs for the procedure relating to the restoration of the right of priority). Several receiving Offices have, however, notified the International Bureau under Rule 26bis.3(j) of the incompatibility of the provisions governing such requests to restore the right of priority with the national laws applied by those Offices. As a result, those receiving Offices will not apply those provisions and thus do not accept such requests. A list of Offices which will not accept requests under Rule 26bis.3(a) can be found on WIPO’s website at https://www.wipo.int/pct/en/texts/reservations/res_incomp.html#R_26bis_3_j. To the extent that the applicant is aware, before filing the international application, of the need to file a request for restoration, he/she should consider filing the international application with a competent receiving Office that does accept such requests. For example, the receiving Office of the International Bureau accepts such requests and is competent for international applications filed by a national or resident of any PCT Contracting State. If the need to file a request to restore only becomes apparent after the international application has already been filed, the applicant may request the receiving Office to transmit the international application to the receiving Office of the International Bureau under Rule 19.4(a)(iii).
5.063. What is the time limit for requests for the restoration of the right of priority?
Rule 26bis.3(e)
The time limit for complying with the requirements to request the restoration of the right of priority is two months from the date on which the priority period expired. If the receiving Office requires the applicant to provide a declaration or evidence in support of the statement of reasons for failure to timely file the international application (refer to paragraph 5.064), it will allow the applicant a reasonable time under the circumstances to furnish such documents.
5.064. How should a request for the restoration of the right of priority be filed with the receiving Office?
Rule 4.1(c)(v), Rule 26bis.1(a), Rule 26bis.3
The request form, Box VI, includes an option for the applicant to request restoration of the right of priority and a similar option is included in ePCT. The applicant only needs to add an indication, in the case of multiple priority claims, to clarify in respect of which priority claim restoration is requested. The request to restore the right of priority may also be submitted separately from the request form by way of a letter to the receiving Office.
For the request to restore the right of priority to be successful, the following requirements must be met:
— the international application must contain a priority claim to an earlier application. In addition, this international application must have been filed within two months from the date of the expiration of the priority period. If, the international application does not contain the relevant priority claim at the time of filing, such a claim must be added, in accordance with Rule 26bis.1(a) (refer to paragraphs 6.038 to 6.040), within two months from the expiration of the priority period (refer to Rules 26bis.3(c) and (e));
— the request to restore should state the reasons for the failure to file the international application within the priority period. This statement of reasons should be submitted as a separate document and accompany the request for restoration in the request form or may be filed subsequently within the time limit under Rule 26bis.3(e). The statement of reasons should take into consideration the restoration criterion which the applicant seeks to satisfy, from among those applied to such requests by the Office (refer to Annex C and paragraph 5.065);
— a fee for requesting restoration, if applicable, must be paid (refer to Annex C for whether a particular receiving Office requires a fee for the restoration of the right of priority) before the expiration of the time limit under Rule 26bis.3(e); the time limit for payment of the fee may be extended for a period of up to two months from the expiration of the time limit under Rule 26bis.3(e) (Rule 26bis.3(d));
— if required by the receiving Office, a declaration or other evidence in support of the statement of reasons should preferably be furnished together with the request to restore but may also be furnished upon invitation by the receiving Office (Rule 26bis.3(f)) (for the applicable time limit, refer to paragraph 5.063).
5.065. What are the criteria for restoration applied by the receiving Office?
Rule 26bis.3(a), Rule 49ter.1(a), Rule 49ter.1(b)
There are two possible criteria for restoration: either the failure to file the international application within the priority period occurred in spite of due care required by the circumstances having been taken or the failure to file the international application within the priority period was unintentional. All Offices to which these Rules are applicable (refer to paragraph 5.062) must apply at least one of these criteria. If a receiving Office wishes, it may apply both criteria for restoration and leave the choice to the applicant as to which criterion is sought to be applied in a specific case, noting that it would be advantageous for the applicant to obtain a positive finding by the receiving Office on the stricter criterion of “due care” since such a finding would in general be effective in all designated States, unlike a finding on the less strict “unintentionality” criterion. Furthermore, a receiving Office will be free to apply, upon request of the applicant, first the “due care” criterion and then, if the receiving Office finds that that criterion is not complied with, the “unintentionality” criterion.
5.066. What needs to be included in the statement of reasons for the request to restore the right of priority and what additional information may be required in support of a request for restoration of the right of priority?
Rule 26bis.3(f)
The statement of reasons should indicate the reasons for the failure to file the international application within the priority period. It should contain all the relevant facts and circumstances which would allow the receiving Office to determine that the failure to file the international application within the priority period occurred in spite of due care required by the circumstances having been taken or was unintentional. Under Rule 26bis.3(f), the receiving Offices may require that a declaration or other evidence in support of the statement of reasons be furnished or, if some evidence has already been provided, that additional evidence be furnished. When submitting the statement of reasons and possibly any declaration or evidence in support of a request for restoration of the right of priority, the applicant must bear in mind that in general all these documents will be made publicly available by the International Bureau on PATENTSCOPE after the international publication of the international application (refer to paragraph 5.067 for exceptions). Any private or confidential information which is not necessary for supporting the request itself, should preferably be left out.
5.067. Can the applicant request that certain documents relating to a request for the restoration of the right of priority not be transmitted to the International Bureau?
Rule 26bis.3(h-bis)
Generally, receiving Offices will forward to the International Bureau all documents submitted in connection with a request for restoration of the right of priority. However, the applicant can make a reasoned request to the receiving Office that certain documents or parts thereof relating to such a request not be forwarded. Receiving Offices may also contact the applicant directly where such documents are noted to invite the applicant to submit a reasoned request for omission. If the receiving Office, upon the applicant’s request, finds that any document does not obviously serve the purpose of informing the public about the international application and publication or public access to any such document would clearly prejudice the personal or economic interests of any person and there is no prevailing public interest to have access to that document or part of it, it will not transmit that document or part of it to the International Bureau. The applicant should note that if essential information, necessary for establishing that the criterion for “due care” had been met, is not forwarded and thus not made available to the designated/elected Offices, it is more likely that the request for restoration of the right of priority will be reviewed during the national phase, and that he/she will be required to provide equivalent information again to the designated/elected Offices.
5.068. Will there be an opportunity for dialogue with the receiving Office should that Office intend to refuse the request?
Rule 26bis.3(g)
If the receiving Office intends to refuse the request for restoration of the priority claim, it is required to notify the applicant of its intention. The applicant then has an opportunity to make observations on the intended refusal within a reasonable time limit, specified in the notification of intended refusal (Form PCT/RO/158). Note that this notification may in practice be sent to the applicant together with an invitation to file a declaration or other evidence.
5.069. What are the effects of a decision by a receiving Office on designated Offices?
Rule 49ter.1
A decision by a receiving Office to restore a right of priority based on the criterion of “due care” will, as a general rule, be effective in all designated Offices, unless the designated Office submitted a notification of incompatibility under Rule 49ter.1(g). A decision by a receiving Office to restore a right of priority based on the criterion of “unintentionality” will be effective only in those designated States the applicable laws of which provided for restoration of the right of priority based on that criterion or on a criterion which, from the viewpoint of applicants, is more favorable than that criterion. A decision by a receiving Office to refuse to restore the right of priority can always be reviewed by a designated Office, unless it has submitted a notification of incompatibility under Rule 49ter.1(g), such that restoration is not possible in that jurisdiction.
In addition, a review of a positive decision may be made by a designated Office in the limited situation where it reasonably doubts that one of the substantive requirements for restoration was complied with. No review is permitted on purely formal grounds, such as, for example, the ground that the relevant fee in the international phase might not have been paid.
5.070. When and to whom must the priority document be furnished?
Rule 4.1(c)(ii), Rule 17.1, Rule 17.2(a), Section 411
Before the expiration of 16 months from the priority date (or, where the applicant requests early processing pursuant to Article 23(2), before that request is made), a certified copy of the earlier application (whether it is a national, regional or international application) must be submitted by the applicant either to the International Bureau or to the receiving Office (unless it has already been filed with the receiving Office together with the international application). Any certified copy that reaches the International Bureau after the expiration of 16 months from the priority date, but before the date of international publication of the international application, will be considered to have reached the International Bureau on the last day of that 16-month period. The copy must be certified by the authority with which the earlier application was filed. Where that authority is the same Office as the receiving Office, the applicant may, instead of submitting the certified copy, request the authority, before the expiration of 16 months from the priority date, to prepare and transmit the certified copy to the International Bureau; in that case, the fee usually charged by the Office should be paid when the request for transmittal is made; the easiest solution for the applicant is to make this request at the time of filing the international application, by marking the check-box provided for that purpose in Box No. VI of the request Form PCT/RO/101. Furthermore, where the priority document is available to the International Bureau from a digital library in accordance with Rule 17.1(b-bis) and Section 715(a), the applicant may, prior to the date of international publication, request the International Bureau to obtain the priority document from such a digital library (refer to paragraph 5.070B). The International Bureau will not charge a fee for this service. The easiest solution for the applicant is to make this request with the International Bureau at the time of filing the international application, by marking the check-box provided for that purpose in Box No. VI.
5.070A. How will I know if my earlier application is available to the PCT System from a digital library?
The only available “digital library” in the PCT system is the WIPO Digital Access Service (DAS). This offers access to earlier applications filed at the receiving Office of the International Bureau and a number of national Offices for use as priority documents. However, unlike some of the bilateral priority document sharing systems between national Offices, the earlier application is only available if the applicant has taken specific steps to make the document available.
5.070B. What steps must be taken so that the International Bureau can obtain the priority document from a digital library, in particular via DAS?
The procedural steps that the applicant needs to follow so that the earlier application will be available to the International Bureau are set out on the DAS website at the following address: https://www.wipo.int/das/en/description.html and on the individual web sites of the participating offices (refer to the list at https://www.wipo.int/das/en/participating_offices.html). Having carried out these steps, the applicant will receive an access code. The applicant should then mark the applicable check-boxes in Box No. VI, and indicate the access code for each specific priority document or submit a written request containing this information to the International Bureau.
5.070C. What steps must be taken when the earlier application to be made available via DAS is an international application?
Applicants may also claim priority from an international application when filing a patent application at another Office (an Office of Second Filing). If the international application was filed with the receiving Office of the International Bureau, the applicant may send a letter to that Office requesting that the document be made available via DAS, and then request the Office of Second Filing to retrieve that document from DAS. For international applications filed at other receiving Offices, check the list of Offices at https://www.wipo.int/das/en/participating_offices.html to refer to whether a particular participating Office will make international applications, filed at its receiving Office, available to DAS in addition to national applications.
5.070D
The International Bureau notifies the applicant of the date on which the priority document was received or obtained. Any designated Office may request a copy of the priority document from the International Bureau. Provided the applicant has either furnished a certified copy or requested that the priority document be transmitted or obtained and paid the necessary fee as described above, no designated Office may ask the applicant to furnish a certified copy of the earlier application. Where this is not the case and unless the earlier application of which priority is claimed was filed with the designated Office in its capacity as national Office or if the priority document is available to the designated Office from a digital library, any designated Office may disregard the priority claim. The designated Office must first, however, have given the applicant an opportunity to furnish the priority document within a time limit which is reasonable under the circumstances. For the obligation of the applicant to furnish a simple (not certified) copy of the priority document to the designated Offices (including a copy of the priority certificate), refer to National Phase, paragraph 5.009 and the relevant National Chapters.
5.071
Rule 17.2(b)
For information as to the obtaining of copies of the priority document after international publication, refer to paragraph 9.023.
Box No. VII: International Searching Authority
5.072. Must an applicant indicate a choice of International Searching Authority?
Rule 4.1(b)(iv), Rule 4.14bis
Where two or more International Searching Authorities are competent to carry out the international search, the applicant must indicate the Authority chosen in the appropriate space in Box No. VII. For details on which International Searching Authorities are competent, refer to Annex C and paragraph 7.002.
5.073. Can the International Searching Authority be requested to take into account the results of an earlier search?
Rule 4.1(b)(ii), Rule 4.12, Rule 12bis, Rule 16.3, Rule 23bis, Rule 41.1
If the applicant wishes the International Searching Authority, in carrying out the international search, to take into account the results of an earlier international, international-type or national search (Rule 4.12) and has complied with all the requirements under Rule 12bis.1, the Authority must, to the extent possible, take into account the results of the earlier search if it was carried out by the same Office as that which is acting as the International Searching Authority (Rule 41.1(i)). However, if the earlier search was carried out by another International Searching Authority or national (or regional) Office, the International Searching Authority may choose whether it takes into account the results of the earlier search (Rule 41.1(ii)). To the extent that the International Searching Authority takes such earlier search results into account, the International Searching Authority must reduce the search fee to the extent and under the conditions provided for in the agreement under Article 16(3)(b) (Rule 16.3). International Searching Authorities are free to decide the extent and conditions for such search fee reductions. For the full texts of the agreements under Article 16(3)(b) refer to https://www.wipo.int/pct/en/access/isa_ipea_agreements.html (also refer to paragraph 5.198).
The request form, Continuation of Box No. VII (item 1), includes an option for the applicant to request that the results of an earlier search be taken into consideration by the International Searching Authority and a similar option is included in ePCT. The applicant only needs to check the corresponding box in Continuation of Box No. VII (item 1) and identify the earlier application (whether national, regional or international) in respect of which the earlier search was carried by including the filing date, the filing number and the country of filing.
Rule 12bis.1(a)
In general, if the applicant has made a request for the results of an earlier search to be taken into account, he/she should – together with the international application and at the time of filing – provide the receiving Office with a copy of the results of the earlier search. However, the applicant will not need to furnish a copy of the earlier search results in the following cases:
Rule 12bis.1(c)
— where the earlier search was carried out by the same Authority or Office as that which will act as the International Searching Authority;
Rule 12bis.1(b)
— where the earlier search was not carried out by the International Searching Authority indicated in Box No. VII of the request form but by the same Office as that which is acting as the receiving Office; in this case, the applicant can request the receiving Office to prepare and transmit the earlier search results directly to the International Searching Authority by marking the check-box provided in Continuation of Box No. VII (item 1) of the request form. This request may be subject to the payment of a fee;
Rule 12bis.1(d)
— where, although the earlier search was not carried out by the receiving Office or the International Searching Authority, a copy of the earlier search results is available to that Office or Authority in a form and manner acceptable to it, for example, from a digital library and the applicant indicated this fact as provided for in Continuation of Box No. VII (item 1) of the request form.
If the applicant wants the results of more than one search to be taken into account, the above-mentioned indications must be specified for each and every earlier search. In addition, where the applicant requests the International Searching Authority to take into account the results of more than one earlier search, the sheet of the request form containing the Continuation of Box No. VII, Use of Earlier Search and Classification Results, should be duplicated as many times as necessary and marked "continuation sheet of item 1 of Continuation of Box No. VII" to allow the applicant to comply with the requirements and provide the required information for each earlier application.
5.073A. May the International Searching Authority request the applicant to furnish any other documents in connection with an earlier search than those transmitted by the receiving Office?
Rule 4.12, Rule 12bis.2
Unless the applicant has done so already, the International Authority may invite the applicant (Form PCT/ISA/238) to furnish to it a copy of the earlier application, a translation (where required) of that earlier application into a language accepted by the International Searching Authority, a translation (where required) of the results of the earlier search into a language accepted by the International Searching Authority and/or a copy of any document cited in the results of the earlier search. However, the International Searching Authority may not require the applicant to furnish any or some of those documents in the following cases:
Rule 12bis.2(b)
— where the earlier search was carried out by the same Authority or Office as that which will act as the International Searching Authority;
Rule 12bis.2(c)
— where the applicant marks the check-box provided in Continuation of Box No. VII (item 1) of the request form stating that the international application is the same or substantially the same as the earlier application in respect of which the earlier search was carried out, except that it is filed in a different language, the International Searching Authority may not require a copy of the earlier application or a translation thereof;
Rule 12bis.2(b)
— where a copy of the earlier application or of any document cited in the results of the earlier search or a translation of the earlier application or a translation of the results of the earlier search are available to the International Searching Authority in a manner acceptable to it, and if the applicant has indicated so by marking the check-box provided in Continuation of Box No. VII (item 1) of the request form.
5.073B. Will the receiving Office also transmit the earlier search and classification results to the International Searching Authority where the applicant did not make a request to take into account the results of an earlier search?
Rule 23bis.2(a), Rule 41.2
Where the international application claims priority of an earlier application and the applicant did not make any indication in item 1 of Continuation of Box No. VII of the request form, the receiving Office is nevertheless required to transmit to the International Searching Authority a copy of the earlier search and classification results (unless such a copy is already available to the International Searching Authority) if the earlier application was filed with the same national or regional Office as that which is acting as receiving Office, and that Office has carried out the search in respect of the earlier application. The receiving Office may transmit a copy of the earlier search and classification results if the earlier application was filed with a different Office but where the results of that earlier search and classification are nevertheless available to the receiving Office. The receiving Office is only obliged to transmit any earlier search and classification results which are available to it at the time of filing of the international application.
Rule 23bis.2(e)
Some Offices have notified the International Bureau https://www.wipo.int/pct/en/texts/reservations/res_incomp.html) that the transmission of copies of earlier search and classification results without the authorization of the applicant is not compatible with their national law. Therefore, where the international application is filed with a receiving Office that has notified the International Bureau accordingly, the applicant may nevertheless authorize the receiving Office to transmit earlier search and classification results to the International Searching Authority by marking the first check-box in item 2.3 of Continuation of Box No. VII of the request form. Only the international applications filed with the following receiving Offices are concerned by this situation: the Australian Patent Office, the Finnish Patent and Registration Office (PRH), the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office (HIPO), the Industrial Property Office (Czechia), the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore, the Israel Patent Office, the Japan Patent Office (JPO), the Norwegian Industrial Property Office, the Swedish Intellectual Property Office (PRV) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Where the earlier search concerns an international application and that earlier search was carried out by a different International Searching Authority than the International Searching Authority indicated in Box No. VII of the request form, the applicant may authorize the receiving Office to transmit the earlier search and classification results to the International Searching Authority indicated in Box No. VII of the request form, by marking the second check-box in item 2.3 of Continuation of Box No. VII of the request form.
5.073C. May the applicant request the receiving Office not to transmit the earlier search results to the International Searching Authority?
Rule 23bis.2(b)
Some Offices have notified the International Bureau (refer to https://www.wipo.int/pct/en/texts/reservations/res_incomp.html) that they may, upon request of the applicant, decide not to transmit the results of an earlier search to the International Searching Authority. Where the international application is filed with an Office that has notified the International Bureau accordingly, namely, the Finnish Patent and Registration Office (PRH), the German Patent and Trade Mark Office and the Swedish Intellectual Property Office (PRV), the applicant may request the receiving Office not to transmit the earlier search results to the ISA, by marking the check-box in item 2.2 of Continuation of Box No. VII of the request form.
5.073D. Will the International Searching Authority take the results of an earlier search into account if the applicant has not made a request under Rule 4.12?
Rule 41.2
Where the international application claims the priority of an earlier application in respect of which a search has been carried out by the same Office that acts as International Searching Authority, the Authority is required to take the results of that earlier search into account when carrying out the international search. Where the receiving Office has transmitted to the International Searching Authority a copy of any earlier search or classification results, or where such a copy is otherwise available to it, for example, from a digital library, the International Searching Authority may take those results into account when carrying out the international search.
Box No. VIII: Declarations
5.074. What declarations may be referred to in Box No. VIII and included in Boxes Nos. VIII(i) to (v)?
The applicant may, for the purposes of the national law applicable in one or more designated States, include any of the following declarations under Rule 4.17:
Rule 4.17(i), Rule 51bis.1(a)(i)
Box No.VIII(i): declaration as to the identity of the inventor (This declaration need not be made if the name and address of the inventor are indicated in the request, that is, usually in Boxes No. II and/or III).
Rule 4.17(ii), Rule 51bis.1(a)(ii)
Box No.VIII(ii): declaration as to the applicant’s entitlement, as at the international filing date, to apply for and be granted a patent. (This declaration does not apply to situations where the applicant's entitlement was acquired only after the international filing date.)
Rule 4.17(iii), Rule 51bis.1(a)(iii)
Box No.VIII(iii): declaration as to the applicant’s entitlement, as at the international filing date, to claim priority of the earlier application. (This declaration does not apply to situations where the applicant’ entitlement was acquired only after the international filing date.)
Rule 4.17(iv), Rule 51bis.1(a)(iv)
Box No.VIII(iv): declaration of inventorship (only for the purposes of the United States of America). (Submitting a declaration of inventorship during the international phase may be advantageous as inventors may be more difficult to be reached when the application enters the national phase).
Rule 4.17(v), Rule 51bis.1(a)(v)
Box No.VIII(v): declaration as to non-prejudicial disclosures or exceptions to lack of novelty.
5.075. What is the purpose of those declarations?
Rule 4.17, Rule 51bis.1, Rule 51bis.2
The purpose of declarations under Rule 4.17 is to enable applicants to comply with some of the national requirements of the designated Offices referred to in Rule 51bis.1 already during the international phase. The national laws of many designated Offices require the applicant to furnish documents or evidence relating to certain matters, for example the applicant’s entitlement to apply for or be granted a patent, during the national phase. By submitting declarations under Rule 4.17 during the international phase, the applicant will generally not have to furnish any documents or evidence on the particular subject matter covered by the declaration to any designated Office which has such a requirement. For example, when the applicant furnishes a declaration under Rule 4.17(ii) during the international phase, he/she does generally not need to submit any further document or evidence relating to the applicant’s entitlement to apply for or be granted a patent (for example an assignment document transferring rights from the inventor to the applicant) during the national phase before designated Offices which have such requirements under their national law (refer also to paragraph 5.081). The PCT does not require that declarations be submitted during the international phase, but if they are, they should be prepared using standardized wording (refer to paragraphs 5.076 to 5.078). No other declaration(s) may be included in any of Boxes VIII (i) to (v).
5.076. How must the declarations be presented in the request?
Rule 4.17, Section 211, Section 212, Section 213, Section 214, Section 215
Each declaration should be made on the appropriate sheet (Box No. VIII (i) to (v)); a "continuation sheet for declaration" (Continuation of Box No. VIII (i) to (v)) should be used in case any single declaration does not fit on the corresponding sheet. The declarations must be worded using the standardized wording provided for in Sections 211 to 215. Except in respect of the declaration of inventorship for the purposes of the designation of the United States of America (refer to paragraph 5.077), the applicant must choose those items and elements of the standardized wording that apply and place them in the appropriate order, taking into account the facts of the case, the chronology of events, etc. Detailed guidance on making these declarations is contained in the Notes to the request form. If no declaration is made, none of the declaration sheets should be included in the request.
5.077. Where can I find the text for the declaration of inventorship for the purposes of the designation of the United States of America?
Rule 4.17(iv), Section 214(a), Section 214(b)
The text of the declaration of inventorship for the purposes of the designation of the United States of America only is pre-printed in Box No. VIII(iv) of the request form since that text must be used as set out in Section 214, no parts may be omitted or presented in an order different from that used in the form. When this declaration is furnished after the international filing date, the PCT application number must be added to the declaration in the space provided for this purpose. In addition, when there are several inventors, all inventors must sign and date a complete declaration containing all inventors, even if they do not sign the same (copy of the) declaration, and the name, residence and address must be included for each inventor.
5.078. Must the standardized wordings of declarations always be used?
Rule 51bis.2
The standardized wording should always be used otherwise the designated Offices may require the applicant to furnish a new declaration or further evidence in the national phase. It should be noted, that even if a declaration has not been made using the standardized wording, the International Bureau will nevertheless publish it. It will then be up to each designated Office concerned to determine whether it can accept the declaration or not; in other words, the applicant will not have any guarantee that an Office will accept it. If the circumstances of a particular case are such that the standardized wording under Rule 4.17 is not applicable the applicant should consider complying with the requirement during the national phase.
5.079. Must a declaration under Rule 4.17 be signed?
Rule 4.17(iv), Section 214(a), Section 214(b)
Only the declaration of inventorship for the purposes of the designation of the United States of America must be signed and dated by all inventors. No other declaration must be signed.
5.080. Do all designated Offices accept declarations made under Rule 4.17 under their national law?
Rule 51bis.2
All designated Offices that have special national requirements allowed under the PCT accept such declarations. For more information about which States require the substantive information in each of the declarations, refer to “Special requirements of the Office” in the corresponding National Chapter (Summary) for the designated Office concerned, and National Phase, paragraphs 5.003 to 5.005.
5.081. May the designated Offices require further evidence during the national phase?
Rule 51bis.2
Where the declaration in question is one of those referred to in Rule 4.17(i) to (iv), the designated Office may not require any document or evidence relating to the subject matter of such declaration unless it may reasonably doubt the veracity of that declaration. Where the declaration in question is that referred to in Rule 4.17(v), the designated Office may require further documents or evidence, noting that the matter of non-prejudicial disclosures and exceptions to lack of novelty is a substantive matter of patentability. It is to be noted that the fact that a declaration is made does not, of itself, establish the matters declared: those matters remain for determination by the designated Offices in accordance with the applicable national law.
5.082. How do designated Offices receive the declarations relevant to them?
Rule 48.2(a)(x), Rule 48.2(b)(iv)
All declarations will be part of the published international application (refer to paragraph 9.015) and will therefore not be communicated separately to the designated Offices concerned.
5.083. What is the purpose of the check-boxes in Box No. VIII?
The check-boxes in Box No. VIII should be completed by the applicant to allow the receiving Office to verify that the declaration(s) referred to correspond to those made in Boxes No. VIII (i) to (v).
If the applicant chooses not to make any declaration at the time of filing the international application or if the declarations are not yet available at the time of filing, the request should not include the optional sheets for declarations and nothing should be marked in the check-boxes in Box No. VIII.
5.083A. Can a declaration referred to in Rule 4.17 be corrected or added during the international phase?
Rule 26ter.1
A declaration may be corrected, or a new (missing) declaration added, by a notice submitted to the International Bureau. For further details, refer to paragraphs 6.045 to 6.050. It should be noted, however, that a declaration may not be withdrawn once it has been filed.
Box No. IX: Check List
5.084. What is the purpose of the check list?
Rule 3.3, Section 313
Box No. IX should be completed by the applicant to allow the receiving Office to verify the completeness of the documents constituting and/or accompanying the international application and, in particular, to check whether the international application as filed actually contains the number of sheets in paper form indicated in items (a) to (f).
5.085
The actual number of sheets constituting each element of the international application as well as their total should be indicated (for the numbering of sheets, refer to paragraph 5.012). As for the sheets of the request, they are at least four in number (the first sheet, the second sheet, the third sheet and the last sheet). There may be more sheets if one or more optional sheets are used (the continuation sheet for Box No. III, the supplemental sheet, the declaration sheet or the continuation sheet for declaration).
5.086
Article 27(2), Rule 13bis, Rule 51bis.1, Section 209
For details on the completion of Box No. IX and on the kinds of items which may need to be filed with the international application, refer to the Notes to the request form. Also refer to the National Chapters for details concerning certain matters in relation to designated Offices.
5.087
Rule 3.3(a)(iii), Rule 8.2, Section 201
The applicant must further indicate in Box No. IX the number of that figure of the drawings (if any) which is suggested to accompany the abstract for publication (refer to paragraph 5.170) and preferably also the language of filing of the international application.
Box No. X: Signature of Applicant or Agent
5.088. Who must sign the international application and when?
Article 14(1)(a)(i), Rule 4.1(d), Rule 4.15, Rule 26.2bis(a), Rule 51bis.1(a)(vi), Rule 90.3
The international application must be signed in Box No. X of the request by the applicant, or, where there are two or more applicants, by all of them. However, if there is more than one applicant, the receiving Office will not invite the applicant to furnish missing signatures when the request is signed by at least one of the applicants. Note, however, that in this case, any designated Office may in accordance with the applicable national law require the confirmation of the international application by the signature of any applicant for the designated State who has not signed the request. Subject to certain conditions indicated in paragraph 5.089, the request may be signed by the agent instead of the applicant(s).
5.089. May the international application be signed by an agent?
Rule 2.1, Rule 4.1(d), Rule 4.15, Rule 90.3, Rule 90.4, Rule 90.5
The international application may be signed by an agent, but in that case the agent must be appointed as such in a separate power of attorney signed by the applicant. The power of attorney has to be submitted to the receiving Office unless the receiving Office has waived the requirement to furnish a separate power of attorney (refer to paragraphs 5.041 to 5.051, and 11.001 to 11.014). If there are two or more applicants, the request may be signed by an agent on behalf of all or only some of them; in that case the agent must be appointed as such in one or more powers of attorney signed by the applicants on whose behalf the agent signs the application. Where a power of attorney appointing an agent who signs an international application is missing and the receiving Office requires that a power of attorney be furnished, the signature is treated as missing until the power of attorney is submitted. For the case of a general power of attorney, refer to paragraphs 5.043 and 11.009.
5.090. How must the international application be signed?
The signature should be executed indelibly in a dark color, preferably in black ink, so that it will appear clearly in a photocopy. The name of each person signing the international application should be indicated (preferably typewritten) next to the signature. Where the person signs on behalf of a legal entity, the capacity in which that person signs should also be indicated.
5.091. When must or may a seal be used instead of a signature?
Rule 2.3
In international applications filed with the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) as receiving Office, a seal may be used instead of a signature. In the case of international applications filed in English with the Japan Patent Office (JPO) as receiving Office and in respect of which the European Patent Office has been chosen by the applicant as International Searching Authority, a signature must be furnished instead of a seal. In international applications filed with the Korean Intellectual Property Office as receiving Office, a seal may be used instead of a signature.
Notes to the Request Form
5.092. What are the Notes to the request form?
The Notes to the request form are intended to facilitate the completion of that form. They indicate, in relation to each Box of that form, what indications are required and how they are to be made. The Notes are not required to be submitted with the request, however, and should not be numbered as part of the request.
Fee Calculation Sheet
5.093. What is the fee calculation sheet?
The fee calculation sheet is intended to help the applicant to calculate the total amount of fees payable to the receiving Office. The sheet is usually annexed to the request form which the applicant obtains from the receiving Office. It is not part of the form and is not counted as a sheet of the request, however, and its use is not mandatory. Nevertheless, it is strongly recommended that the applicant complete the fee calculation sheet and submit it to the receiving Office. This will help the receiving Office to verify the calculations and identify any errors. Where two or more International Searching Authorities are competent for searching the international application (refer to paragraph 7.002), the Authority which was chosen by the applicant and indicated in Box No. VII of the request form (refer to paragraph 5.072) should also be indicated in the fee calculation sheet, together with the amount of the applicable search fee (refer to paragraph 5.187). Refer to the Notes to the fee calculation sheet for details about completion of the sheet. For information about the payment of fees generally, refer to paragraphs 5.184 to 5.199.
THE DESCRIPTION
5.094. How must the description be drafted?
Article 5, Article 11(1)(iii)(d), Rule 5, Section 204
The description must disclose the invention in a manner sufficiently clear and complete for it to be carried out by a person skilled in the art. It must start with the title of the invention as appearing in Box No. I of the request. Rule 5 contains detailed requirements as to the “manner and order” of the description, which, generally, should be in six parts. Those parts should have the following headings: “Technical Field,” “Background Art,” “Disclosure of Invention,” “Brief Description of Drawings,” “Best Mode for Carrying Out the Invention” or, where appropriate (refer to paragraph 5.096), “Mode(s) for Carrying Out the Invention,” and “Industrial Applicability.”
5.095
The details required for the disclosure of the invention so that it can be carried out by a person skilled in the art depend on the practice of the national Offices. It is therefore recommended that due account be taken of national practice (for instance in Japan and the United States of America) when the description is drafted. The need to amend the description during the national phase (refer to paragraph 5.111 below) may thus be avoided.
5.096
Rule 5.1(a)(v)
What is said in paragraph 5.095 applies likewise to the need to indicate the best mode for carrying out the invention. If at least one of the designated Offices requires the indication of the best mode (for instance, the United States Patent and Trademark Office), that best mode must be indicated in the description.
5.097
A description drafted with due regard to what is said in paragraphs 5.094 to 5.096 will be accepted by all the designated Offices. It might require more care than the drafting of a national patent application, but certainly much less effort than the drafting of multiple applications, which is necessary where the PCT route is not used for filing in several countries.
5.098
The requirement of unity of invention is discussed, in connection with the claims, in paragraphs 5.114 to 5.123.
5.099. What special requirements apply to the sequence listing part of the description?
Annex C of the Administrative Instructions, Rule 12.1(d), Rule 5.2, Section 208, Section 513
Where the international application contains disclosure of a nucleotide and/or amino acid sequence required to be included in a sequence listing pursuant to Annex C of the Administrative Instructions, the description must contain a sequence listing part of the description which complies with the standard provided for in Annex C (WIPO Standard ST.26). Under WIPO Standard ST.26, the sequence listing must be filed in XML format. Any language-dependent free text in the sequence listing must be provided in a language accepted for that purpose by the receiving Office. If permitted by the receiving Office, the same language-dependent free text may be provided in two languages within the same sequence listing, English and another language (refer to Annex C of the PCT Applicant’s Guide for the requirements of each receiving Office). For further information relating to nucleotide and/or amino acid sequence listings, including those filed for the purposes of international search, refer below and to paragraphs 7.005 to 7.012.
5.100. How to best file an international application containing a sequence listing?
Annex C of the Administrative Instructions, Annex F of the Administrative Instructions, Rule 19.4(a)(ii-bis), Section 208, Section 702
An international application containing a sequence listing is best filed in electronic form, since the sequence listing must be filed in electronic form in XML format. The application should be filed in an electronic document format and/or by a means of transmittal accepted by the receiving Office for the purposes of filing international applications in electronic form (Annex F). Any receiving Office that does not accept the filing of sequence listings in XML format will transmit the international application to the International Bureau as receiving Office under Rule 19.4. The sequence listing must be prepared in accordance with Annex C of the Administrative Instructions (compliant with WIPO Standard ST.26), generated preferably using the WIPO Sequence software (refer to paragraph 5.104). Applicants are strongly discouraged from filing international applications with the main body on paper and the sequence listing separately in electronic form. For international applications filed on paper, the sequence listing in XML format must accompany the international application (e.g., on an electronic carrier).
5.101. How is the fee for filing sequence listings calculated?
Rule 13ter.1, Schedule of Fees, Section 707, Annex C of the Administrative Instructions
No page fees are payable for any sequence listing filed in XML format in accordance with WIPO Standard ST.26.
5.102. What happens if a separate electronic file appearing to be a disclosure of sequences is filed in a format other than XML?
Annex C of the Administrative Instructions
As explained in paragraphs 5.099 and 5.100, any sequence listing part of the description must be filed in XML complying with WIPO Standard ST.26. If at the time of filing the applicant included a separate electronic file disclosing sequences in a format other than XML (e.g., in PDF or ST.25 TXT), the receiving Office will invite the applicant to confirm whether the applicant wishes to add the content as sheets to the main part of the description. If this is the applicant’s intention, the applicant must confirm to the receiving Office that the content of the file should form part of the description and if the file is not in the format accepted for the main part of the description, resubmit the content in such a format (e.g., PDF). Some receiving Offices may convert the file into the acceptable format directly and ask the applicant to confirm. Any sheets added to the main part of the description will be taken into account in the calculation of the international filing fee. The applicant may later amend the description (under Article 34 or at the time of national phase entry) to include a sequence listing part of the description complying with WIPO Standard ST.26. If the applicant fails to confirm or pay any applicable fee for sheets in excess of 30, the content of the file originally submitted will be disregarded and will not form part of the international application.
5.103. Do all receiving Offices accept the filing of sequence listings in electronic format?
Rule 19.4(a)(ii-bis)
Receiving Offices which are prepared to accept the filing of international applications in electronic format are indicated in Annex C. Any receiving Office which does not accept sequence listings filed in XML format will transmit the international application to the International Bureau as receiving Office under Rule 19.4.
5.104. Does the International Bureau recommend any software for the preparation of sequence listings in electronic format?
To ensure compliance with the prescribed standard, sequence listings should be created using WIPO Sequence (available for download from WIPO website at:
https://www.wipo.int/standards/en/sequence/index.html).
5.105. What are the physical requirements for the description?
Rule 11, Section 109
Rule 11 lists the physical requirements which have to be met by an international application. The paper must be of A4 size, white and durable. The minimum margins must be 2 cm on the top, the bottom and the right side of the sheet, and 2.5 cm on the left side of the sheet. The margins should not exceed 3 cm on the bottom and the right side of the sheet and 4 cm on the top and the left side of the sheet. The margins must be completely blank, except that a file reference not exceeding 25 characters in length may be placed by the applicant in the left-hand corner of the top margin within 1.5 cm from the top of the sheet. The file reference may be composed either of letters of the Latin alphabet or Arabic numerals, or both. The hyphen character (“-“) may be used as a separator between alphanumeric characters. Any text matter in the description must be in characters the capital letters of which are not less than 0.28 cm.
5.106. How should the pages and lines be numbered?
Rule 11.7, Rule 11.8, Rule 11.9, Section 207
The page number must be centered at the top or bottom of the sheet, but not in the 2 cm margin (that is, a page number, if at the top of the sheet, must be below the 2 cm margin, and if at the bottom of the sheet, above the 2 cm margin). It is strongly recommended that every fifth line of each sheet be numbered in the right half of the left margin. The description must be typewritten or printed. The typing must be 1½ spaced and in dark indelible color so as to permit direct reproduction. The capital letters of the characters must be a minimum of 0.28 cm high.
5.107. How are chemical or mathematical formulae to be represented?
Rule 11.9(b), Rule 11.10(b)
The description, the claims and the abstract may contain chemical or mathematical formulae. Such formulae may be written by hand or drawn if necessary but it is recommended that appropriate drafting aids or materials such as stencils or transfers be used. For practical reasons formulae may be grouped together on one or more sheets in the description and paginated with it. It is recommended in such cases that each formula be designated by a reference sign and the description should contain references to such formulae whenever necessary. Chemical or mathematical formulae may also be grouped together and be placed after the claims as drawings. In such a case, the chemical or mathematical formulae must be drawn to comply with the requirements for drawings and the sheets must be numbered as drawing sheets (refer to paragraph 5.157).
5.108
Rule 11.9(b), Rule 11.9(d), Rule 11.13(h)
Chemical or mathematical formulae must employ symbols in general use and must be drawn in such a way that they are completely unambiguous. Numerals, letters and signs which are not typed must be legible and identical in form in the various formulae, irrespective of the element of the international application in which they appear. Chemical or mathematical formulae appearing in the text of the international application must have symbols the capital letters of which are at least 0.28 cm high. Where they appear on sheets of drawings, these symbols must be at least 0.32 cm high. All mathematical symbols used in a formula which appear in a description or on sheets of drawings should be explained in the description, unless their significance is clear from the context. In any case, the mathematical symbols used may be collated in a list.
5.109. How are tables to be represented?
Rule 11.10(c), Rule 11.10(d)
For the sake of convenience, tables may be grouped together in one or more sheets of the description and paginated with it. If two or more tables are necessary, each should be identified by a Roman numeral (independently of the pagination of the description or drawings or of the figure numbering) or by a capital letter, or by a title indicating its contents, or by some other means. Each line and column in a table should begin with an entry explaining what it represents and, if necessary, the units used. As far as possible, all tables should be set out upright on the sheets. Where the tables cannot be presented satisfactorily in an upright position, they may be placed sideways, with the top of the tables on the left-hand side of the sheet.
5.110. How can obvious mistakes in the description be rectified?
Rule 91
The procedure for rectification of obvious mistakes is explained in paragraphs 11.033 to 11.044. The omission of an entire sheet of the description cannot be rectified without affecting the international filing date (refer to paragraphs 6.025 and 6.026). Changes other than the rectification of obvious mistakes are considered amendments (refer to paragraph 5.111).
5.111. Can the description be amended during the international phase?
Article 28, Article 34(2)(b), Article 41(1), Rule 52, Rule 78
The description can be amended during the international phase only if the applicant files a demand for international preliminary examination (refer to paragraph 10.001). The description can also be amended during the national phase before each designated or elected Office (refer to National Phase). Different provisions apply to amendment of the claims in the international phase - refer to paragraph 5.127.
THE CLAIMS
5.112. How must claims be drafted?
Article 611(1)(iii)(e), Rule 6.1, Rule 6.2, Rule 6.3, Rule 6.4
The claim or claims must “define the matter for which protection is sought.” Claims must be clear and concise. They must be fully supported by the description. Rule 6 contains detailed requirements as to the number and numbering of claims, the extent to which any claim may refer to other parts of the international application, the manner of claiming, and dependent claims. As to the manner of claiming, the claims must, whenever appropriate, be in two distinct parts; namely, the statement of the prior art and the statement of the features for which protection is sought (the characterizing portion).
5.113
Rule 6.4(a)
In principle, under the PCT, any dependent claim which refers to more than one other claim (multiple dependent claim) must refer to such claims in the alternative only, and multiple dependent claims cannot serve as a basis for any other multiple dependent claim. However, the national laws of most Contracting States permit a manner of claiming which is different from that provided for in the preceding sentence, and the use of that different manner of claiming is in principle also permitted under the PCT. For the purposes of those designated States where that different manner of claiming is not permitted, the applicant must decide which drafting style to adopt. If that different manner of claiming is used, amendments may need to be made to the claims during the national phase in those States which do not permit it. Moreover, the national Offices of such States, when they act as International Searching Authorities, may indicate under Article 17(2)(b) that a meaningful search could not be carried out if that different manner of claiming is used (refer to paragraph 7.014).
5.114. What is meant by the requirement of "unity of invention"?
Article 3(4)(iii), Rule 13, Rule 45bis.6(a)
An international application should be drafted so that the claims relate to only one invention or to a group of inventions so linked as to form a single general inventive concept. This principle is laid down in Article 3(4)(iii) and Rule 13. Observance of this requirement is checked by neither the receiving Office nor the International Bureau, but it is checked by, and is important to the procedure before, the International Searching Authority (refer to paragraphs 7.015 to 7.021), the Authority specified for supplementary search (refer to paragraph 8.044) and the International Preliminary Examining Authority (refer to paragraph 10.072), and may be relevant in the national phase before the designated and elected Offices. Since separate searches and examinations are required for distinctly different inventions, additional fees are required if the international search or international preliminary examination is to cover two or more inventions (or groups of inventions linked as just described). (For how the issue of unity of invention affects the supplementary international search, refer to paragraph 8.043.)
5.115. How is the requirement of unity of invention satisfied?
Rule 13.2, Rule 13.3, Section 206
Unity of invention is present only when there is a technical relationship among the claimed inventions involving one or more of the same or corresponding special technical features. The expression special technical features means those technical features that define a contribution which each of the claimed inventions, considered as a whole, makes over the prior art. The determination whether a group of inventions is so linked as to form a single inventive concept is made without regard to whether the inventions are claimed in separate claims or as alternatives within a single claim. An initial determination of unity of invention based on the assumption that the claims avoid the prior art will be made before the prior art search but may be reconsidered on the basis of the results of the search. Annex B of the Administrative Instructions contains detailed criteria governing the determination whether an international application complies with the requirement of unity of invention under Rule 13. The following paragraphs set out a summary of some of the more important criteria discussed in that Annex. Illustrations of three particular situations are explained in detail below:
(i) combinations of different categories of claims (for example - product, process, use, and apparatus or means),
(ii) so-called Markush practice and
(iii) the case of intermediate and final products.
5.116. May different categories of claims be combined in an international application?
The method for determining unity of invention contained in Rule 13 is construed as permitting, in particular, the inclusion of any one of the following combinations of claims of different categories in the same international application:
(i) in addition to an independent claim for a given product, an independent claim for a process specially adapted for the manufacture of the said product, and an independent claim for a use of the said product, or
(ii) in addition to an independent claim for a given process, an independent claim for an apparatus or means specifically designed for carrying out the said process, or
(iii) in addition to an independent claim for a given product, an independent claim for a process specially adapted for the manufacture of the said product and an independent claim for an apparatus or means specifically designed for carrying out the said process,
it being understood that a process is specially adapted for the manufacture of a product if it inherently results in the product and that an apparatus or means is specifically designed for carrying out a process if the contribution over the prior art of the apparatus or means corresponds to the contribution the process makes over the prior art.
5.117
An apparatus or means is considered to be specifically designed for carrying out a claimed process if the contribution over the prior art of the apparatus or means corresponds to the contribution the process makes over the prior art. Consequently, it would not be sufficient that the apparatus or means is merely capable of being used in carrying out the claimed process.
5.118. What is permitted under the “Markush Practice”?
Rule 13.2 also governs the Markush practice wherein a single claim defines alternatives of an invention - a common drafting practice for inventions in the chemical field. In this special situation, the requirement of a technical interrelationship and the same or corresponding special technical features as defined in Rule 13.2, is considered to be met when the alternatives are of a similar nature.
5.119
When the Markush grouping is for alternatives of chemical compounds, they are regarded as being of a similar nature where the following criteria are fulfilled:
(i) all alternatives have a common property or activity, and
(ii) (a) a common structure is present - that is, a significant structural element is shared by all of the alternatives, or
(b) in cases where the common structure cannot be the unifying criteria, all alternatives belong to a recognized class of chemical compounds in the art to which the invention pertains.
5.120
When dealing with alternatives, if it can be shown that at least one Markush alternative is not novel over the prior art, the question of unity of invention will be reconsidered by the examiner. Reconsideration does not necessarily imply that an objection of lack of unity will be raised.
5.121. Can both intermediate and final products be claimed?
The situation involving intermediate and final products is also governed by Rule 13.2. The term intermediate is intended to mean intermediate or starting products. Such products have the ability to be used to produce final products through a physical or chemical change in which the intermediate loses its identity. Unity of invention should be considered to be present in the context of intermediate and final products where the following two conditions are fulfilled:
(i) the intermediate and final products have the same essential structural element, in that:
a) the basic chemical structures of the intermediate and the final products are the same, or
(b) the chemical structures of the two products are technically closely interrelated, the intermediate incorporating an essential structural element into the final product, and
(ii) the intermediate and final products are technically interrelated, this meaning that the final product is manufactured directly from the intermediate or is separated from it by a small number of intermediates all containing the same essential structural element.
5.122
Unity of invention may also be considered to be present between intermediate and final products of which the structures are not known - for example, as between an intermediate having a known structure and a final product the structure of which is not known, or as between an intermediate of unknown structure and a final product of unknown structure. In order to satisfy unity in such cases, there must be sufficient evidence to lead one to conclude that the intermediate and final products are technically closely interrelated as, for example, when the intermediate contains the same essential element as the final product or incorporates an essential element into the final product.
5.123. Must all designated or elected Offices accept an international application that complies with the unity of invention requirements laid down in Rule 13 of the PCT?
Article 2(x), Article 27(1), Rule 13
An international application which complies with the unity of invention requirements laid down in Rule 13 must be accepted by all the designated and elected Offices, since Article 27(1) does not allow any national law (as defined in Article 2(x)) to require compliance with requirements relating to the contents of the international application different from or additional to those provided for in the PCT.
5.124. What are the physical requirements for the claims?
Rule 11, Rule 11.4(a)
The physical requirements are the same as those for the description as outlined in paragraph 5.105. Note that the claims must commence on a new sheet.
5.125. May claims include tables?
Rule 11.10(c)
The claims may include tables if this is desirable in view of the subject matter involved. In this case, the tables must be included in the text of the relevant claim; they may not be annexed to the claims nor may reference be made to tables contained in the description (refer to paragraph 5.109).
5.126. How can obvious mistakes in the claims be rectified?
Rule 91
The procedure for rectification of obvious mistakes is explained in paragraphs 11.033 to 11.044. The omission of an entire sheet of the claims cannot be rectified without affecting the international filing date (refer to paragraphs 6.025 and 6.026). It is recommended that a request for the rectification of obvious mistakes in the claims be made only if the mistake is liable to affect the international search; otherwise, the rectification should be made by amending the claims (refer to paragraph 5.127).
5.127. Can the claims be amended during the international phase?
Article 19, Article 28, Article 34(2)(b), Article 41(1)
Yes, the claims may be amended under Article 19 on receipt of the international search report (refer to paragraphs 9.004 to 9.011); they may also be amended during international preliminary examination if the applicant has filed a demand (refer to paragraphs 10.024 and 10.067) and during the national phase.
THE DRAWINGS
5.128. When is the inclusion of drawings required in the international application?
Article 3(2) Article 7, Rule 7.1
The international application must contain drawings when they are necessary for the understanding of the invention. Moreover where, without drawings being actually necessary for the understanding of the invention, the nature of the invention admits of illustration by drawings, the applicant may include such drawings and any designated Office may require the applicant to file such drawings during the national phase.
5.129. What is considered to be a drawing?
Rule 7.1
Perspectives, exploded views, sections and cross-sections, and details on a different scale are all considered to be drawings. Drawings also cover flow sheets and diagrams, such as functional diagrams and graphic representations of a given phenomenon which express the relationship between two or more parameters.
5.130
Rule 11.10
Where chemical or mathematical formulae and tables are included in the description, claims or abstract, they are not considered to be drawings and are thus not subject to the same requirements as drawings (refer to paragraphs 5.131 to 5.133). However, such graphic forms may be submitted as drawings, in which case they are subject to the same requirements as drawings.
5.131. How must the drawings be presented?
Rule 11.10, Rule 11.11, Rule 11.13
Drawings must be presented on one or more separate sheets. They may not be included in the description, the claims or the abstract. They may not contain text matter, except a single word or words when absolutely indispensable. Rules 11.10 to 11.13 contain detailed requirements as to further physical requirements of drawings. Any drawing meeting those requirements must be accepted in the national phase by the designated Offices. Drawings newly executed according to national standards may not be required during the national phase if the drawings filed with the international application comply with Rule 11. A file reference may be indicated on each sheet of the drawings as for the description (refer to paragraph 5.105).
5.132
Rule 11.2(a)
The drawings must be so presented as to admit of direct reproduction by photography, electrostatic processes, photo offset and microfilming, in any number of copies.
5.133
Rule 11.2(a), Rule 11.2(b), Rule 11.2(c), Rule 11.3, Rule 11.5, Rule 11.6(c), Rule 11.12
Drawings must be on sheets of A4 paper (29.7 cm x 21 cm) which must be flexible, strong, white, smooth, non-shiny and durable. The sheets must be free from creases and cracks; they must not be folded. Each sheet must be reasonably free from erasures and must be free from alterations, overwriting and interlineations. Only one side of each sheet may be used. The usable surface of sheets must not exceed 26.2 cm x 17.0 cm. The sheets must not contain frames around the usable surface. The minimum margins which must be observed are: top and left side: 2.5 cm; right side: 1.5 cm; bottom: 1.0 cm.
5.134. Should figures of drawings be arranged in a particular manner?
Rule 11.10(d), Rule 11.13(j)
All the figures constituting the drawings must be grouped together on a sheet or sheets without waste of space, but clearly separated from each other. However, figures should not be separated by lines.
5.135
Rule 11.10(d), Rule 11.13(j)
As far as possible, all figures of the drawings should be set out upright on the sheets. Where the drawings cannot be presented satisfactorily in an upright position, they may be placed sideways, with the tops of the drawings on the left-hand side of the sheet. Thus, a figure which is broader than it is high, may be set out so that the bottom of the figure lies parallel to and along the right-hand side of the sheet. In this case, if other figures are drawn on the same sheet, they should be set out in the same way, so that all the figures on a single sheet lie in the same position. Similar considerations apply to tables and chemical and mathematical formulae (refer to paragraphs 5.107 and 5.109).
5.136
The drawings should contain as many figures as may be necessary to adequately show the claimed invention. The views may be plan, elevation, section, or perspective views; detail views of portions or elements, on a larger scale if necessary, may be used. Exploded views, with the separated parts of the same figure embraced by a bracket, to show the relationship or order of assembly of various parts, are permissible. One figure should not be placed upon or within the outline of another figure.
5.137
Where an invention concerns improvements to details of existing devices and machines, a general figure may be desirable to indicate where on the device or machine the improvement is situated, in order to ensure that the drawings are readily understood. If, for example, the invention relates to the fixing of an elastic diaphragm in a diaphragm pump, a figure - generally the first - may represent the entire pump, as improved by the invention, the details of which will then be given in the other figures. On the other hand, it would be unnecessary to represent the entire machine comprising this diaphragm, for example the automobile in which the diaphragm pump circulates the fuel.
5.138
It is sufficient to choose the views which are the most representative and contain the minimum of hidden parts, so that the object is completely and unambiguously defined by means of the smallest possible number of views. To this end, it is sometimes sufficient to replace the various views of an object by a single perspective view. The simplest view compatible with the desired result should be chosen.
5.139
Rule 11.13(i)
Where figures on two or more sheets form in effect a single complete figure, the figures on the several sheets must be so arranged that the complete figure can be assembled without concealing any part of any of the figures appearing on the various sheets. Partial figures drawn on separate sheets must always be capable of being linked edge to edge, that is to say, no partial figure may contain parts of another partial figure. A very long figure may be divided into several parts placed one above the other on a single sheet. However, the relationship between the different parts must be clear and unambiguous. It is therefore recommended that a smaller scale figure be included showing the whole formed by the partial figures and indicating the positions of the parts shown.
5.140. How must drawings be numbered?
Rule 11.7, Section 207(b)
All sheets of drawings must be numbered in the center of either the top or the bottom of each sheet but not in the margin (as for the sheets of the description - refer to paragraph 5.106) in numbers larger than those used as reference signs in order to avoid confusion with the latter. For drawings, a separate series of numbers is to be used (refer to paragraph 5.012). The number of each sheet of the drawings must consist of two Arabic numerals separated by an oblique stroke, the first being the sheet number and the second being the total number of sheets of drawings. For example, 2/5 would be used for the second sheet of drawings where there are five sheets in all and 1/1 would be used in the case of a single sheet.
5.141
Rule 11.13(k), Rule 49.5(f)
Different figures on the sheets of drawings must be numbered in Arabic numerals consecutively and independently of the numbering of the sheets and, if possible, in the order in which they appear. The numbers of the figures should be preceded by the expression Fig., whatever the language of the international application. Where a single figure is sufficient to illustrate the claimed invention, it should not be numbered and the abbreviation Fig. should not appear. Numbers and letters identifying the figures must be simple and clear and may not be used in association with brackets, circles, or inverted commas, except as regards partial figures intended to form one complete figure, irrespective of whether they appear on one or several sheets. In this case the complete figure may be identified by the same number followed by a capital letter (for example, Fig. 7B).
5.142
The different figures should preferably be set out, as far as possible, on each sheet in ascending numerical order from left to right and from top to bottom. If one of two figures illustrates on a larger scale a detail from the other, each figure should be numbered separately, and if possible, consecutively.
5.143. How should drawings be executed?
Rule 11.13
The drawings must be executed in durable, black, uniformly thick and well-defined lines and strokes. In all cases, the thickness of the lines and strokes must take into account the scale, nature, execution and perfect legibility of the drawing and of the reproductions. All lines in the drawings must, ordinarily, be drawn with the aid of a drafting instrument, except those which by their nature do not permit the use of such instruments, for example, irregular diagrams, ornamental structures and curved reference lines (refer to paragraph 5.145).
5.144. May lines of different thicknesses be used in the same drawing?
Lines and strokes of different thicknesses may be used in the same drawing where different thicknesses have a different meaning. One could, for instance, use:
— a continuous thick line for edging and outlining views and cross-sections;
— a continuous thin line for reference lines (refer to paragraph 5.145 for further details), hatching, outlining parts of adjoining elements, fictitious lines of intersection of surfaces connected by curved or rounded edges;
— a continuous thin line drawn freehand for delimiting views, part sections or interrupted views;
— a thin broken line made up of short dashes for hidden edges and contours;
— a dot-dash thin line for axes and planes of symmetry, extreme positions of movable elements, in front of a cross-section;
— a thin line terminating in two thick lines for outlines of cross-sections.
5.145. How should reference lines be shown?
Reference lines (also referred to as leading lines), that is, lines between the reference signs (for example, reference numerals) and the details referred to, may be straight or curved and should be as short as possible. They must originate in the immediate proximity of the reference sign and extend to the feature indicated. Reference lines for certain reference signs may be omitted. Reference signs of this type, which are not connected to anything, will then indicate the surface or cross-section on which they are placed. In such cases the reference sign may be underlined to make it quite clear that the line has not been left out by mistake. Reference lines must be executed in the same way as other lines in the drawing (refer to paragraph 5.143).
5.146. May I use arrows in drawings?
Arrows may be used at the end of the reference lines provided that their meaning is clear. They may indicate a number of points:
(i) a freestanding arrow indicates the entire section towards which it points;
(ii) an arrow touching a line indicates the surface shown by the line looking along the direction of the arrow;
(iii) arrows may also be used in appropriate cases to show the direction of movement.
5.147. How are cross-sections to be represented?
Rule 11.13(b)
In making and representing cross-sections, certain conditions must be observed with regard to the indication and identification of the figures concerned and how they are to be represented, as more fully explained in paragraphs 5.148 and 5.149.
5.148
Where a figure is a cross-section on another figure, the latter should indicate the position of the section and may indicate the viewing direction by arrows at each end. In addition, in order to allow each sectional figure to be quickly identified, especially where several cross-sections are made on the same figure, each end of the cross-section line should be marked on the diagram with the same single Arabic or Roman numeral which identifies the figure in which the section is illustrated. A cross-section represents that part of an object which is situated on a cutting surface. In industrial drawings, the cross-section is that part of the object which is behind the cutting surface from the point of view of the person looking at it. Cutting surfaces are generally plane surfaces and if they are not, they must be defined precisely. Cross-sections must always follow the cutting surface, whatever it may be.
5.149
A cross-section must be set out and drawn in the same manner as a normal view whose parts in cross-section are hatched with regularly spaced parallel oblique strokes, the space between strokes being chosen on the basis of the total area to be hatched. Hatching should not impede the clear reading of the reference signs and reference lines. Consequently, if it is not possible to place reference signs outside the hatched area, the hatching may be broken off wherever reference signs are inserted. Certain types of hatching may be given a specific meaning. The hatching should be at a substantial angle to the surrounding axes or principal lines, preferably 45º. The various parts of a cross-section of the same item should be hatched in the same manner. The hatching of juxtaposed different elements should be angled in a different way. In the case of large areas, hatching can be confined to an edging drawn around the inside of the outline of the area to be hatched.
5.150. What should be the scale of figures of the drawings?
Rule 11.13(c)
The scale of the figure should be such that all the essential details can be clearly distinguished in a linear reduction in size to two-thirds. In exceptional cases, where required, the scale of the drawing may be graphically represented. Indications such as actual size or scale ½ on the drawings or in the description, are not permitted, since these lose their meaning with reproduction in different format.
5.151
Rule 11.13(g)
Each element of each figure must be in proportion to each of the other elements in the figure, except where the use of a different proportion is indispensable for the clarity of the figure. As a preferred alternative to a difference in proportion within one figure for the purpose of achieving the necessary clarity, a supplementary figure should be added giving a larger scale illustration of the element of the initial figure. In such cases, it is recommended that the enlarged element shown in the second figure be surrounded by a finely drawn or dot-dash circle in the first figure pinpointing its location without obscuring the figure.
5.152. How should numbers, letters, reference signs and like indications be presented and applied to drawings?
Rule 11.13(e)
Numbers, letters and reference signs and any other data given on the sheets of drawings, such as the numbering of figures, and of the sheets of the drawings, acceptable text matter, graduations on scales, etc., must be simple and clear, and not used in association with any brackets, inverted commas, circles or outlines whatsoever. Signs indicating minutes, seconds or degrees are permitted. Numbers, letters and reference signs should be laid out in the same direction as the diagram so as to avoid having to rotate the sheet. Such numbers, letters and reference signs should not be so placed in the closed and complex parts of the drawings as to interfere with a thorough comprehension of the same, and therefore should rarely cross or mingle with the lines. As a general rule, numbers, letters and reference signs should be placed as closely as possible to the part in question.
5.153
Rule 11.13(h)
A minimum size of 0.32 cm is required for all numbers and letters used on the drawings so that their reduction in size to two-thirds remains easily legible. The Latin alphabet should normally be used for letters. The Greek alphabet is to be accepted, however, where it is customarily used, for example, to indicate angles, wavelengths, etc.
5.154
Rule 11.13(l)
Reference signs are to be used in a manner which is consistent as between the description, claims and drawings. In particular, reference signs not mentioned in the description must not appear in the drawings, and vice versa. Features of a drawing should not be designated by a reference sign in cases where the feature itself has not been described. This situation may arise as a result of amendments to the description involving the deletion of pages or whole paragraphs. One solution would be to delete reference signs on the drawing which have been deleted in the description. Where for any reason a figure is deleted, all reference signs relating solely to that figure appearing in the description and claims should also be deleted.
5.155
Rule 11.13(m)
The same features, when denoted by reference signs, must, throughout the international application, be denoted by the same signs. However, where several variants or embodiments of a claimed invention are described, each with reference to a particular figure, and where each variant contains features whose function is the same or basically the same, the features may, if this is indicated in the description, be identified by reference numbers made up of the number of the figure to which it relates followed by the number of the feature, which is the same for all variants, so that a single number is formed. For example, the common feature “15” would be indicated by “115” in Fig. 1, while the corresponding feature would be indicated by “215” in Fig. 2, thereby allowing the individual feature and the figure on which it is to be considered to be indicated at the same time. Complex cases involving many pages of drawings may be made easier to read if, when the individual variants or embodiments are described with reference to particular groups of figures, the common reference sign is prefixed by the number of the particular variant or embodiment to which it relates; however, this should, if used, be explained in the description.
5.156. May drawings contain text matter?
Rule 11.11
The drawings must not contain text matter, except a single word or words when absolutely indispensable, such as “water”, “steam”, “open”, “closed”, “section on AB” and in the case of electric circuits and block schematic or flow sheet diagrams, a few short catch words indispensable for understanding. Significant amounts of text matter should be avoided in the drawings as this can cause difficulties not only in understanding but also in translation. Any words used must be so placed that if translated, they may be pasted over without interfering with any lines of the drawings.
5.157. May symbols be used in drawings?
Rule 10.1(d), Rule 10.1(e)
Known devices may be illustrated by symbols which have a universally recognized conventional meaning and are generally accepted in the art provided no further detail is essential for understanding the subject matter of the claimed invention. Other signs and symbols may be used provided that they are not likely to be confused with existing conventional symbols, that they are readily identifiable, that is, simple, and providing that they are clearly explained in the text of the description. Different types of hatching may also have different conventional meanings as regards the nature of a material seen in cross-section.
5.158. Is the use of shading permitted?
The use of shading in figures is allowed provided this assists in their understanding and is not so extensive as to impede legibility. Shading may, for instance, be used to indicate the shape of spherical, cylindrical, conical elements, etc. Flat parts may also be lightly shaded. Such shading is allowed in the case of parts shown in perspective but not for cross-sections. Only spaced lines may be used for shading, not fully blacked out areas. These lines must be thin, as few in number as possible and they must contrast with the rest of the drawings.
5.159. May a photograph or color drawing be presented?
The PCT makes no provision for photographs or color drawings. Nevertheless, they may be submitted where it is impossible to present in a black and white drawing what is to be shown (for instance, crystalline structures). Where, exceptionally, photographs and/or color drawings are submitted, they must be on sheets of A4 size and respect the minimum margins (refer to paragraph 5.133). While the receiving Office will not necessarily require replacement sheets where photographs and/or color drawings are submitted, for international publication purposes, all images will be converted to black and white (not greyscale). As a result, details may be lost which could impact the disclosure of the invention in the international application and affect the processing of the international application in the international and the national phase. The filing software accepted by some receiving Offices allows for the specific indication that photographs and/or color drawings are filed as part of the international application. Such indications will trigger a notice on the front page of the published international application to indicate that the original drawings are available on PATENTSCOPE, which may assist national phase processing in Offices where color drawings are accepted. However, it will not overcome the need to provide true black and white drawings to other Offices when required, representing the color images without adding subject matter.
5.160. May a list of reference signs used in the drawings be included in the description?
Rule 11.13(n)
In the case of international applications dealing with complex subjects and incorporating a large number of drawings, a separate sheet listing all reference signs may be included at the end of the description as a part thereof. This list may take whatever form is appropriate and contain all the reference signs together with the designation of the features which they denote. This method could have the advantage of allowing an easier reference to the meaning of the various reference signs employed and understanding of the drawings.
5.161. How can obvious mistakes in the drawings be rectified?
Rule 91
The procedure for rectification of obvious mistakes is explained in paragraphs 11.033 to 11.044. The omission of an entire sheet of drawings cannot be rectified without affecting the international filing date (refer to paragraphs 6.025(i)(b) and 6.026). Changes other than the rectification of obvious mistakes are considered amendments (refer to paragraph 5.162).
5.162. Can the drawings be amended during the international phase?
Article 28, Article 34(2)(b), Article 41(1)
The drawings can be amended during the international phase only if the applicant files a demand for international preliminary examination (refer to paragraph 10.001). The drawings can also be amended during the national phase.
5.163
As regards the figure or, exceptionally, figures to accompany the abstract, refer to paragraph 5.171.
THE ABSTRACT
5.164. What is the use of the abstract?
Article 3(3), Rule 8.3
The abstract serves as a scanning tool for the purposes of searching in the particular art and especially assists the scientist, engineer or researcher in formulating an opinion on whether there is a need to consult the international application itself. It merely serves the purpose of technical information and cannot be taken into account for any other purpose, particularly not for the purpose of interpreting the scope of the protection sought.
5.165. What content should the abstract normally contain?
Rule 8.1(a)
The abstract should consist of a summary of the disclosure as contained in the description, the claims, and any drawings. It should indicate the technical field to which the invention pertains and should be drafted in a way which allows a clear understanding of the technical problem, the gist of the solution to that problem through the invention, and the principal use or uses of the invention. Where applicable, it should also contain the chemical formula which, among all the formulae contained in the international application, best characterizes the invention. The abstract should be primarily related to what is new in the art to which the invention pertains. WIPO Standard ST.12/A provides more detailed guidance in this respect.
5.166. If the invention is in the nature of a modification to an apparatus, process, product or composition, what should the abstract contain?
If the invention is in the nature of a modification to an apparatus, process, product or composition, the abstract should be directed to the technical disclosure of the modification. If the invention is of a basic nature, the entire technical disclosure may be new in the art and the abstract should be directed to the entire disclosure. If an international application relating to a product, particularly a compound or composition, also contains significant disclosure of its method of preparation or use, this matter should also be abstracted. If the disclosure involves alternatives, the abstract should deal with the preferred alternative and identify the others if this can be done succinctly; if this cannot be done, it should mention that they exist and whether they differ substantially from the preferred alternative.
5.167. What should the abstract contain?
Where applicable, and provided the international application contains the information, the abstract should include at least the following: (1) if the invention is a machine, apparatus, or system, its organization and operation; (2) if the invention is an article, its method of making; (3) if the invention is a chemical compound, its identity and preparation; (4) if the invention is a mixture, its ingredients; (5) if the invention is a process, the steps. Extensive mechanical and design details of apparatus should not be given.
5.168. What should the abstract contain in case of chemical inventions for compounds or compositions?
Rule 8.1(a)(ii)
With regard particularly to chemical inventions for compounds or compositions, the general nature of the compound or composition should be given as well as the use thereof, for example, the compounds are of the class of alkyl benzene sulfonyl ureas, useful as oral anti-diabetics. Exemplification of a class should be by a typical example. For processes, the type of reaction, reagents and process conditions should be stated, generally illustrated by a single example. Wherever applicable, the chemical formula should be given which, among all the formulae contained in the international application, best characterizes the invention.
5.169. What should the abstract not contain?
Rule 8.1(c)
The abstract must not contain statements on the alleged merits or value of the claimed invention or on its speculative application.
5.169A. How long should the abstract be?
Rule 8.1(b)
The abstract must be as concise as the disclosure permits. Phrases should not be used which can be implied, such as This disclosure concerns, The invention defined by this disclosure and This invention relates to. If it is drafted in English, it should preferably be in the range of 50 to 150 words. The same applies to the translation in English if the abstract is drafted in a language other than English.
In order to provide guidance to applicants in preparing abstracts when they are drafted in languages other than English, the International Bureau has analyzed the abstracts of past international applications. That analysis shows that, on average, if the abstract drafted in one of the following languages of publication falls into the corresponding range of number of words or characters, when it is translated into English, that translation will likely be within the range of 50 to 150 words: Arabic, 35 to 110 words; Chinese, 80 to 240 characters; French, 50 to 150 words; German, 40 to 120 words; Japanese, 100 to 300 characters; Korean, 30 to 130 words; Portuguese, 50 to 150 words; Russian, 35 to 110 words; and Spanish, 50 to 150 words.
5.170. When should a figure be suggested to accompany the abstract?
Rule 3.3(a)(iii), Rule 8.2
Where the international application contains drawings, the applicant should indicate, in the check list of the request, the number of the figure in the drawings which the applicant suggests should be published with the abstract.
5.171. Which figure should accompany the abstract?
The figure illustrating the abstract must be the figure which best characterizes the claimed invention and must be chosen from the drawings accompanying the international application. Only one figure should generally be indicated. The abstract may exceptionally be illustrated by more than one figure where necessary information cannot be otherwise conveyed. A figure containing significant amounts of text matter should be avoided as text can be difficult to read when reduced to the size of the front page drawing to accompany the abstract. In addition, large amounts of text in the figure to accompany the abstract can impede the understanding of the invention given that translated text in a figure is placed below or at the side of the drawing. If none of the figures is found useful for the understanding of the abstract, no figure need be indicated in the check list. The figure or figures that will accompany the abstract at the time the international application is published may not be included in the abstract.
5.171A. Should the abstract contain reference signs?
Rule 8.1(d)
The abstract should be clear and easy to understand. Where the international application contains drawings, each main technical feature mentioned in the abstract and illustrated by a drawing should be followed by a reference sign, placed between parentheses. The reference numerals used in the abstract must correspond to those indicated in the relevant figures.
5.172. How must the abstract be presented?
Section 207, Rule 11
The abstract must be presented on a separate sheet which must appear after the claims and be numbered accordingly (refer to paragraph 5.012). It must comply with the same physical requirements as those applicable for the description (refer to paragraph 5.105).
5.173. What happens if the abstract is missing or defective?
Article 14(1)(a)(iv), Article 14(1)(b), Rule 26.2, Rule 38.2, Rule 38.3
Where the receiving Office finds that the abstract is missing, it invites the applicant to furnish it within a time limit of two months from the date of the invitation to correct. The international application can be considered withdrawn if no abstract is furnished to the receiving Office within the time limit fixed. Where the receiving Office has not invited the applicant to furnish an abstract, the International Searching Authority establishes one. The same applies where the abstract does not comply with the requirements outlined in the preceding paragraphs (also refer to paragraph 7.022). Where the abstract is established by the International Searching Authority, the applicant may submit comments on it within one month from the date of mailing of the international search report.
5.174. Can an abstract be corrected even if the International Searching Authority has already approved it?
Rule 38.3
The applicant is entitled, until the expiration of one month from the date of mailing of the international search report, to submit to the International Searching Authority proposed modifications of the abstract. It will be up to the Authority to decide whether to modify the abstract accordingly.
OTHER FORMAL REQUIREMENTS
5.175. What other formal requirements does the international application have to meet?
Article 21(6), Rule 9
The international application may not contain matter contrary to morality or public order, disparaging statements or obviously irrelevant or unnecessary matter. When the receiving Office, the International Searching Authority, the Authority specified for supplementary search or the International Bureau note lack of compliance with the prescriptions of Rule 9, the Office or Authority may suggest that the applicant correct the international application accordingly. For the procedure to correct a defect under Rule 9, refer to paragraph 6.052.
5.176
Rule 10
There are certain requirements as to the technical terminology and signs to be used (metric system, etc.). They are specified in Rule 10. The use of such prescribed technical terminology will be accepted by all designated Offices.
5.177. Are there any physical requirements for the international application?
Article 3(4)(ii), Article 14(1)(a)(v), Rule 11
The international application must comply with certain physical requirements, such as requirements concerning fitness for reproduction, the paper to be used, the manner of writing (generally typewritten or printed), etc. The details are spelled out in Rule 11. They are, in general, very similar to the requirements applied by the major Patent Offices for national applications (and by the Eurasian Patent Office and the European Patent Office for Eurasian and European patent applications, respectively).
5.178. Can I indicate a name or address in the request form in characters other than those of the Latin alphabet?
Rule 4.16
Where any name or address is written in characters other than those of the Latin alphabet (for example, Chinese, Cyrillic or Japanese), it must be transliterated or translated into English. For details, refer to Rule 4.16.
5.179. In how many copies must an international application be filed?
Rule 11.1(a), Rule 11.1(b), Rule 21
An international application, and, where applicable, a translation of the international application, must be filed in one, two or three copies, depending on the requirements of the receiving Office. Annex C contains the relevant information. Also refer to Rule 21.
5.180
Article 12, Rule 21.1, Rule 22.1(a), Rule 23.1(a), Section 305
It is to be noted that there must eventually be three copies of every international application: one is kept by the receiving Office (the home copy), one is transmitted by the receiving Office to, and is kept by, the International Bureau (the record copy), and one is transmitted by the receiving Office to, and kept by, the International Searching Authority (the search copy). If less than the required number of copies is filed by the applicant (refer to paragraph 5.179), the receiving Office is responsible for preparing the additional copies and may charge a fee to the applicant.
5.181. In which cases must I furnish a translation of the international application?
Rule 12, Rule 12.3, Rule 21.1, Rule 22.1(a), Rule 23.1(a), Section 305bis
Where the international application was filed in a language which is accepted by the receiving Office but not by the International Searching Authority which is to carry out the international search, the applicant has to furnish a translation of the international application (refer to paragraphs 6.013 to 6.020 for details). In that case, the receiving Office forwards a copy of the international application in the language of filing (the “record copy”) to the International Bureau, a copy (the “search copy” to the International Searching Authority and retains one copy (the “home copy”). When the receiving Office receives the translation of the international application, it forwards one copy to the International Bureau (the “record copy - translation (Rule 12.3)”), keeps one copy for its files (the "home copy - translation (Rule 12.3)”) and forwards the third copy, together with a copy of the request (the “search copy - translation (Rule 12.3)”) to the International Searching Authority. If the translation is filed by the applicant in fewer than the required number of copies (refer to paragraph 5.179), the receiving Office is responsible for preparing the additional copies and may charge a fee to the applicant.
5.182
Rule 12.4, Rule 21.1, Rule 22.1(a), Section 305bis
Where the international application was filed in a language which is accepted by the receiving Office and by the International Searching Authority which is to carry out the international search but which is not also in a language of publication, the applicant has to furnish a translation of the international application (refer to paragraphs 6.013 to 6.023 for details). In that case, the receiving Office forwards a copy of the international application in the language of filing (the “record copy”) to the International Bureau, a copy (the “search copy”) to the International Searching Authority and retains one copy (the “home copy”). When the receiving Office receives the translation of the international application, it forwards one copy to the International Bureau (the “record copy - translation (Rule 12.4)”) and keeps one copy for its files (the “home copy - translation (Rule 12.4)”). No copy of the translation of the international application will therefore be forwarded to the International Searching Authority by the receiving Office. If the translation is filed by the applicant in fewer than the required number of copies (refer to paragraph 5.179), the receiving Office is responsible for preparing the additional copy and may charge a fee to the applicant.
5.183
Rule 62.1(i), Section 420
Where the International Preliminary Examining Authority is not part of the same national Office or intergovernmental organization as the International Searching Authority, the International Bureau will, promptly upon receipt of the international search report or, if the demand was received after the international search report, promptly upon receipt of the demand, send a copy of the international application and the international search report together with a copy of the written opinion of the International Searching Authority to the International Preliminary Examining Authority. Where neither the language in which the international application was filed nor the language in which the international application is published is accepted by the International Preliminary Examining Authority that is to carry out the international preliminary examination, the applicant must furnish with the demand a translation of the international application into a language which is both a language accepted by that Authority and a language of publication. No such translation is required where the International Searching Authority and the International Preliminary Examining Authority are part of the same national Office or intergovernmental organization. In cases where, instead of the international search report, a declaration under Article 17(2)(a) was issued, references in the preceding sentences to the international search report shall be considered references to the said declaration.
FEES
5.184. What fees are due in respect of an international application?
Article 3(4)(iv)
There are three kinds of fee which must be paid in connection with every international application.
Rule 14
(i) The transmittal fee is fixed by, and accrues to, the receiving Office for the performance of its tasks in connection with the receipt and checking of the international application, and for the transmittal of copies of it to the International Bureau and the International Searching Authority.
Rule 16.1
(ii) The “search fee” is fixed by, and accrues to the benefit of, the International Searching Authority for the carrying out of the international search and the establishment of the international search report and the written opinion of the International Searching Authority.
Rule 15.1, Rule 96
(iii) The “international filing fee” is fixed in the Schedule of Fees annexed to the PCT Regulations and accrues to the International Bureau for the performance of various tasks, including the publication of the international application and, where applicable, the issuance on behalf of the International Searching Authority of the international preliminary report on patentability (Chapter I of the PCT) and the communication of various notifications to the applicant, the receiving Office, the International Searching Authority, the International Preliminary Examining Authority, and the designated and elected Offices.
5.185. To whom are the fees payable?
Rule 14.1(a), Rule 15.1, Rule 16.1(b)
All three kinds of fee referred to in paragraph 5.184 are payable to the receiving Office with which the international application is filed. The receiving Office then transfers the international filing fee to the International Bureau and the search fee to the International Searching Authority or, in accordance with Annex G of the Administrative Instructions, to the International Bureau for further transfer to the beneficiary Office.
5.186. What is the currency in which the fees are payable?
Rule 14.1(b), Rule 15.2, Rule 16.1(b)
Generally, the fees referred to in paragraph 5.184 are payable in the currency of the country in which the receiving Office is located. Complete information on this question is contained in Annex C and, for the search fee, in Annex D.
5.187. What are the amounts of the fees?
Rule 14.1(b), Rule 15.2, Rule 16.1(a)
Annex C and, for the search fee, Annex D indicate the amounts of the fees referred to in paragraph 5.184. Where the applicant has the choice between two or more International Searching Authorities (refer to paragraph 7.002), the amount of the search fee depends on which International Searching Authority is chosen and indicated in Box No. VII of the request form (refer to paragraphs 5.072 and 5.093) and in the fee calculation sheet (refer to paragraph 5.093).
5.188. What fee reductions are available?
An applicant who is a natural person and who is a national of and resides in a State that is listed as being a State whose per capita gross domestic product is below 25, 000 US dollars (according to the most recent 10-year average per capita gross domestic product figures at constant 2005 US dollars values published by the United Nations), and whose nationals and residents who are natural persons have filed less than 10 international applications per year (per million population) or less than 50 international applications per year (in absolute numbers) according to the most recent five-year average yearly filing figures published by the International Bureau is entitled, in accordance with the Schedule of Fees, item 5, to a reduction of 90% of the international filing fee. In addition, an applicant who qualifies for the 90% reduction in the international filing fee will not have to pay the transmittal fee in respect of an international application filed with the International Bureau as receiving Office. The same applies (i.e. the 90% reduction in the international filing fee and no transmittal fee to be paid if filing is made with the International Bureau as receiving Office) for an applicant, whether a natural person or not, who is a national of and resides in a State that is listed as being classified by the United Nations as a least developed country. (For a list of States whose nationals and residents are eligible for the fee reduction, refer to https://www.wipo.int/pct/en/docs/fee-reduction-january.pdf). However, it should be noted that the applicant is only entitled to the reduction if, at the time of filing the international application, the applicant is or all applicants are the true and only owner(s) of the application and under no obligation to assign, grant, convey or license the rights in the invention to another party which is not eligible for the fee reduction. If there are several applicants, each must satisfy one or the other of the above-mentioned criteria. If the applicant is or all applicants are entitled to the reduction, this reduction applies on the basis of the indications of name, nationality and residence given in Boxes Nos. II and III of the request, without a need for a specific request to be made. The fee reduction will be available even if one or more of the applicants are not from PCT Contracting States, provided that each of them satisfies the above-mentioned criteria and that at least one of them is a national or resident of a PCT Contracting State and thus is entitled to file an international application. Information about PCT Contracting States whose nationals and residents are entitled to a reduction of 90% of the international filing fee, is contained in Annex C and, in particular Annex C(IB). As far as other States are concerned, inquiries should be addressed to the International Bureau. It is to be noted that, if both the reduction for electronic filing of an international application and the 90% reduction of the international filing fee are applicable, the 90% reduction is calculated after the reduction for electronic filing of an international application.
5.189. Is there any fee reduction for applications filed in electronic form?
Rule 89bis, Rule 89ter, Section 702, Section 707
An applicant who files an international application is entitled to a reduction in the international filing fee provided that the international application is filed in electronic form with a receiving Office which is prepared to accept the filing of international applications in electronic form and in compliance with Part 7 and Annex F of the Administrative Instructions or the basic common standard.
The reduction is 100 Swiss francs or the equivalent where the request and the text of the description, claims and abstract are not in character coded format, 200 Swiss francs or the equivalent where the request is in character coded format and the text of the description, claims and abstract is not in character coded format and is 300 Swiss francs or the equivalent where the request and the text of the description, claims and abstract are in character coded format.
5.190
The international search fee as well as the preliminary examination fee payable to the Austrian Patent Office, the European Patent Office (EPO) and the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office, are reduced by 75% under certain conditions (refer to Annexes D and E).
5.191. When are the fees due?
Rule 14, Rule 15.3, Rule 16.1(f)
All fees referred to in paragraph 5.184 may be paid at the same time, and, if they are paid upon filing of the international application with the receiving Office, no problems can arise. However, all fees can be paid as much as one month from the date of receipt of the international application by the receiving Office. The dates on which payments are deemed to have been received are determined by the receiving Office. The latter applies the same rules as are applied in the case of payments for national applications.
5.192. What happens if the amounts of the fees are changed?
Rule 15.3, Rule 16.1(f)
Where the amount of the international filing fee or of the search fee, in the currency in which the fee is payable, changes, the new amount must be paid as from the date of its entry into force. However, where the amount of any such fee changes between the date on which the international application was received and the date of payment, the amount payable is the amount applicable on the date of receipt of the international application. This system allows the applicant to pay all the fees for the international application, within the one-month period, on the basis of the amounts applicable on the date on which the application was filed with the receiving Office.
5.193. What happens if the fees are not paid or not paid in full?
Rule 16bis.1, Rule 16bis.2
Where, within the time they are due, the applicant has not paid any or all of the fees, the receiving Office invites the applicant to pay the missing amount, together with a late payment fee, within a time limit of one month from the date of the invitation. If the applicant pays the amount (including the late payment fee) specified in the invitation, the deficiency in payment has no consequences for the international application. The amount of the late payment fee is 50% of the missing amount or, if that 50% is less than the transmittal fee, an amount equal to the transmittal fee; but the amount of the late payment fee may not exceed the amount of 50% of the international filing fee referred to in item 1 of the Schedule of Fees, not taking into account any fee for each sheet of the international application in excess of 30 sheets (refer to Annex C).
5.194
Where, within the time by which they are due, the applicant has not paid any or all of the fees, any payment relating to the missing amount must be considered to have been received within the time by which those fees are due, if the payment is received by the receiving Office before that Office sends the invitation, referred to in the preceding paragraph, to pay the missing amount.
5.195
Article 14(3), Rule 16bis.1(c), Rule 27.1, Rule 29.1, Section 321
If the transmittal fee, the international filing fee and the search fee are not paid in the prescribed currency and within the prescribed time limits, including the time limit set in the invitation from the receiving Office to pay the missing amount together with the late payment fee (refer to paragraph 5.193), the international application is considered withdrawn, and the receiving Office promptly informs the applicant accordingly. However, any payment must be considered to have been received before the expiration of the applicable time limit if it is received by the receiving Office before that Office makes the applicable declaration, under Article 14(3), that the international application is considered withdrawn.
5.196
If the amounts paid do not cover the transmittal fee (if applicable), the international filing fee and the search fee (if applicable), the moneys paid will be allocated as specified by the applicant or, in the absence of such specification, as prescribed by the Administrative Instructions by the receiving Office, which promptly notifies the applicant accordingly.
5.197. In which case can I ask for a refund of the transmittal fee?
Rule 15.4, Rule 16.2
There is no rule under the PCT concerning the possibility of asking for a refund of the transmittal fee. The search fee and the international filing fee are refunded where, due to prescriptions concerning national security, the international application is not treated as such, or where the receiving Office refuses to accord an international filing date to the international application under Article 11(1). Such refusal occurs, generally speaking, where the international application is defective in certain respects (refer to paragraph 6.005). The receiving Office will also refund the international filing fee or the search fee to the applicant if the international application is withdrawn or considered withdrawn before the transmittal of the record copy to the International Bureau or the transmittal of the search copy to the International Searching Authority, as the case may be.
5.198. In which case can I ask for the refund of the international search fee?
Rule 16.3, Rule 41.1
Most International Searching Authorities will refund part or all of the search fee if the international application is withdrawn or considered withdrawn after transmittal of the search copy but before the start of the international search (refer to Annex D). Where the International Searching Authority must, under Rule 41.1(i), or may, under Rule 41.1(ii), take into account the results of the earlier search when carrying out the international search (also refer to paragraph 5.073), in accordance with Rule 16.3, the International Searching Authority must refund the search fee to the extent and under the conditions provided for in the agreement under Article 16(3)(b). International Searching Authorities are free to decide the extent and conditions for such search fee reductions.
5.199
For refunds or reductions of fees in the national phase, refer to National Phase, paragraph 4.007 and National Chapters (Summaries).

CHAPTER 6: PROCESSING OF THE INTERNATIONAL APPLICATION BY THE RECEIVING OFFICE

GENERAL
6.001. What are the main procedural steps at the receiving Office?
The main procedural steps that any international application goes through at the receiving Office are the following:
Article 10
(i) the international application and the related fees are received by the receiving Office;
Article 11(1), Article 14(1)(a)
(ii) the international application is checked by the receiving Office to determine whether it meets the requirements prescribed by the PCT as to the language, form and contents of international applications (the checks performed by the receiving Office are of a formal nature and do not go into the substance of the invention);
Article 11(2)(a), Article 14(1)(b), Rule 20.1, Rule 20.3, Rule 26.1
(iii) where the checks made by the receiving Office show that the international application does not meet certain requirements as to fees, language, form and contents, that Office invites the applicant to furnish the necessary corrections;
Article 11(1), Article 11(2)(b), Rule 20.2
(iv) where - possibly after correction (refer to paragraphs 6.024 to 6.053) - the checks made by the receiving Office show that the international application meets the requirements prescribed for that purpose by the PCT, an international filing date is accorded to the international application by the receiving Office;
Article 12, Rule 22, Rule 23
(v) copies of the international application, its translation, where applicable, and other related documents are transmitted by the receiving Office to the International Searching Authority and to the International Bureau so that they may carry out the procedural steps for which they are responsible in the further processing of the international application.
6.002. [Deleted]
6.003. How does the international application reach the receiving Office?
Rule 89bis.1, Rule 92.4
The international application may be deposited with or mailed to the receiving Office, or filed online (e.g.) if the receiving Office offers such a service. It may also be filed by other means of rapid communication, notably by facsimile machine, provided that the receiving Office places such facilities at the disposal of applicants and that the original is furnished within 14 days, if so required by the receiving Office (refer to Annexes B). The requirements in relation to filing the international application and any subsequent documents by facsimile machine are explained in more detail in paragraphs 11.067 to 11.070.
6.004. Is the international application treated as confidential by the receiving Office?
Article 30
Yes, it is. Third parties are not permitted to have access to the international application, unless requested or authorized by the applicant, before the date of international publication. Designated Offices are, however, permitted to publish the fact that they have been designated, together with a limited amount of bibliographic data. For further details as to confidentiality, refer to Article 30 and paragraphs 11.072 to 11.074.
INTERNATIONAL FILING DATE
6.005. What are the conditions that must be fulfilled for the international application to be entitled to an international filing date?
Article 11(1), Rule 20.1, Rule 20.2
The receiving Office must accord an international filing date to the international application if it finds that the following conditions are fulfilled:
(i) the applicant does not obviously lack, for reasons of residence or nationality, the right to file an international application with the receiving Office (refer to paragraphs 5.008, 5.020 and 5.023);
(ii) the international application is in the prescribed language (refer to paragraph 6.006);
(iii) the international application contains at least the following elements:
(a) an indication that it is intended as an international application,
(b) a request which constitutes the designation of a Contracting State bound by the PCT on the international filing date (under Rule 4.9(a) - refer to paragraph 5.052),
(c) the name of the applicant (for this purpose it is sufficient if the name of the applicant is indicated in a way which allows his/her identity to be established, even if the name is misspelled, or the given names are not fully indicated, or, in the case of legal entities, the indication of the name is abbreviated or incomplete),
(d) a part which on the face of it appears to be a description,
(e) a part which on the face of it appears to be a claim or claims.
6.006. Not all parts of my international application are in the same language. Will the receiving Office accord an international filing date to my international application?
Article 11(1)(ii), Article 11(1)(iii), Rule 12.1, Rule 20.1(c), Rule 20.1(d)
For the purposes of according an international filing date, the requirement that the international application be in a prescribed language is met, in most receiving Offices, if the description and claims (but not necessarily the other elements of the international application) are in a language accepted by the receiving Office under Rule 12.1(a) and (c) (refer to Rule 20.1(c) and paragraph 5.013). If any of the other elements of the international application are not in a language accepted by the receiving Office, they may be corrected later without affecting the international filing date (refer to paragraphs 6.032 and 6.034). A translation will need to be furnished by the applicant in respect of any international application which is filed in a language which is not a language accepted by the International Searching Authority which is to carry out the international search and/or a language of publication; refer to paragraphs 6.013 to 6.020). In certain Offices, however, Rule 20.1(c) is incompatible with the applicable national law. For as long as that incompatibility continues, that Rule will not apply for those Offices; all elements of an international application filed with those Offices as receiving Office must therefore comply with the language requirements of Rule 12.1 before an international filing date can be accorded (refer to Annex C for details).
6.007. [Deleted]
6.008. What date is accorded as the international filing date?
Article 11(1), Article 11(2)(b), Rule 20.1, Rule 20.2
The reply to this question depends on whether the requirements for according an international filing date (refer to paragraph 6.005) were fulfilled on the date on which the international application was received by the receiving Office, or, pursuant to Rule 20.6, considered to have been received (refer to paragraph 6.026 to 6.031), or - following correction of defects in relation to those requirements - on a later date. The international filing date will, in the former case, be the date on which the international application was received by the receiving Office and, in the latter case, the date on which the correction was received by the receiving Office. Naturally, any correction has to comply with some conditions; in particular it has to be filed within a certain time limit. More is said about this in paragraph 6.025. Where all the sheets pertaining to the same international application are not received on the same day by the receiving Office, refer to paragraph 6.026.
6.009. Does non-payment, incomplete payment or late payment of fees influence the international filing date?
Article 11(3), Article 11(4), Article 14(3), Rule 27
No, it does not, however, those defects will eventually lead the receiving Office to declare that the international application is considered withdrawn (refer to paragraphs 5.195 and 5.196). Although an international application which has not been accorded an international filing date and an international application which is considered withdrawn are both excluded from further processing in the international phase, an international application which fulfills the requirements necessary for it to be accorded an international filing date may be invoked as a priority application under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (if the conditions laid down by that Convention are fulfilled) even where the international application is considered withdrawn under the PCT (for non-payment of fees or other reasons).
6.010. Can the receiving Office refuse to treat an international application as such for reasons of national security?
Article 27(8), Rule 22.1, Section 330
Each Contracting State is free to apply measures deemed necessary for the preservation of its national security. For example, each receiving Office has the right not to treat an international application as such and not to transmit the record copy to the International Bureau and the search copy to the International Searching Authority. Compliance with national security prescriptions where the international application is filed with the International Bureau as receiving Office will not be checked by the International Bureau; such compliance is the applicant’s responsibility. Where an international filing date has been accorded but national security considerations prevent transmittal of the record copy, the receiving Office must so declare to the International Bureau before the expiration of 13, or at the latest 17, months from the priority date.
6.011. How does the applicant know whether his/her application has been accorded an international filing date or that the application is not treated as an international application or is considered to have been withdrawn?
Rule 20.2, Rule 20.4(i), Rule 20.5(c), Rule 20.5bis(c), Rule 22.1, Rule 29.1(ii)
Where the receiving Office accords an international filing date to the international application, it promptly notifies the applicant of that date and of the international application number; where it decides that the international application is not to be treated as an international application (because of a negative determination for lack of compliance with Article 11, or because national security considerations prevent it from being treated as such) or is to be considered withdrawn, it promptly notifies the applicant accordingly.
6.012. Can an international filing date once accorded be “taken away”?
Article 14(4), Rule 29.3, Rule 29.4, Rule 30.1, Rule 82ter.1, Section 312
If, after having accorded an international filing date, the receiving Office finds that it should not have accorded it, the international application is considered withdrawn and the receiving Office so declares and promptly notifies the applicant. If the International Bureau or the International Searching Authority finds that an international filing date should not have been accorded, it calls the relevant facts to the attention of the receiving Office. However, such a finding may validly occur only during the four months following the international filing date and must be preceded by a notification to the applicant of the intention to make the declaration which should, where applicable, also include an invitation to confirm the incorporation of missing elements in accordance with Rule 20.6(a). The applicant has the right to submit arguments within two months from the notification or, where applicable, confirm the incorporation by reference of missing elements. For the rectification of errors made by the receiving Office in according the international filing date, refer to Rule 82ter.1 and the National Phase, paragraph 6.028.
TRANSLATION OF INTERNATIONAL APPLICATIONS
6.013. When is a translation of the international application required?
Rule 12.1
Every receiving Office must accept, for the purpose of filing international applications, at least one language which is both a language of publication and a language accepted by the International Searching Authority, or, if applicable, by at least one of the International Searching Authorities, competent for the international searching of international applications filed with that receiving Office. In addition, any receiving Office may accept one or more other languages for the purpose of filing international applications. A translation of the international application is required when the language in which the international application is filed is a language which is not a language of publication and/or a language accepted by the International Searching Authority which is to carry out the international search.
6.014. What are the translation requirements if the international application is filed in a language which is not accepted by the International Searching Authority?
Rule 12.3
Where the language in which the international application is filed is not accepted by the International Searching Authority that is to carry out the international search, the applicant must furnish, to the receiving Office, a translation of the international application into a language which is both a language accepted by that Authority and a language of publication. Moreover, unless the international application was filed in a language of publication (refer to paragraph 9.017), the language into which the international application is translated must also be a language in which international applications may be filed with the receiving Office concerned. For any sequence listing part of the description, a translation of the language-dependent free text in the sequence listing may be required if not already provided in a language accepted by the International Searching Authority as filed. The translation must be provided in a new sequence listing containing the language-dependent free text in the accepted language. The applicant may either replace the language-dependent free text with the translation or if permitted by the receiving Office, add the translation such that the new sequence listing contains the language-dependent free text in two languages (one must be English). (Concerning translation of the request, refer to paragraph 6.019).
6.015. What is the time limit for furnishing a translation of my international application where the application is filed in a language which is not accepted by the International Searching Authority?
The translation of the international application must be furnished to the receiving Office within one month from the date on which the international application was received by that Office. Where, by the time the receiving Office notifies the applicant of the international application number and international filing date, the applicant has not furnished the required translation, the receiving Office will, preferably together with that notification, invite the applicant to furnish the required translation either within the time limit of one month from the date on which the international application was received by the receiving Office, or, in the event that the required translation is not furnished within that time limit, to furnish it and to pay, where applicable, the late furnishing fee (refer to paragraph 6.017), within one month from the date of the invitation or two months from the date of receipt of the international application by the receiving Office, whichever expires later.
6.016. Will my application be withdrawn in case that I do not furnish a translation or pay the late furnishing fee?
Where the receiving Office has sent to the applicant an invitation to furnish the translation and, where applicable, pay the late furnishing fee, and the applicant has not done so within the applicable time limit, the international application will be considered withdrawn and the receiving Office will so declare. However, any translation and any payment which are received by the receiving Office before that Office makes the declaration that the international application is considered withdrawn, and before the expiration of 15 months from the priority date, will be considered to have been received before the expiration of the applicable time limit.
6.017. What is the amount of the late furnishing fee for translations?
Rule 12.3(e)
The late furnishing fee which any receiving Office may collect for translations which are furnished after the expiration of the time limit of one month from the date on which the international application is received by the receiving Office, is equal to 25% of the international filing fee referred to in item 1 of the Schedule of Fees, not taking into account any fee for each sheet of the international application in excess of 30 sheets.
6.018. What are the translation requirements if the abstract or text matter in the drawings of the international application are in a language which is different from the language of the description and claims?
Rule 26.3ter(a)
If the abstract or text matter in the drawings of the international application is in a language which is different from the language of the description and claims, then the receiving Office will invite the applicant to furnish a translation of the abstract or the text matter of the drawings into the language in which the international application is to be published. However, no such invitation will be issued if the abstract or text matter in the drawings is in the language in which the international application is to be published, or if a translation of the international application is required because the language in which the international application was filed is not accepted by the International Searching Authority which is to perform the international search.
6.019. What are the translation requirements if the request is in a language which is not a language of publication accepted by the receiving Office for the purpose of filing the request?
Rule 12.1(c), Rule 26.3ter(c)
Whatever the language in which the description and claims are filed, the request must always be filed in a language of publication accepted by the receiving Office for the purposes of filing the request. If the request is in a language which does not fulfill this requirement, the receiving Office invites the applicant to file a translation that complies with it.
6.020. What are the translation requirements if the international application is filed in a language which is accepted by the International Searching Authority, but is not a language of publication?
Rule 12.4, Rule 48.3
If the international application is filed in a language which is not a language of publication but is a language accepted by the International Searching Authority which is to carry out the international search, the applicant must furnish to the receiving Office a translation of the international application into a language of publication which the receiving Office accepts for that purpose. For any sequence listing part of the description, a translation of the language-dependent free text in the sequence listing may be required if not already provided in a language of publication as filed and no translation was required under Rule 12.3(a) for the purposes of the international search. The translation must be provided in a new sequence listing containing the language-dependent free text in a language of publication. The applicant may either replace the language-dependent free text with the translation or if permitted by the receiving Office, add the translation such that the new sequence listing contains the language-dependent free text in two languages (one must be English). (Concerning the translation of the request, refer to paragraph 6.019).
6.021. What is the time limit for furnishing a translation of my international application where the application is filed in a language which is accepted by the International Searching Authority, but is not a language of publication?
The translation of the international application must be furnished to the receiving Office within 14 months from the priority date. Where the applicant has not furnished the required translation within the applicable time limit, the receiving Office will invite the applicant to furnish the required translation, and to pay, where applicable, the late furnishing fee (refer to paragraph 6.023), within 16 months from the priority date.
6.022. Will my application be withdrawn in case that I do not furnish a translation or pay the late furnishing fee?
Where the receiving Office has sent to the applicant an invitation to furnish the translation and, where applicable, pay the late furnishing fee, and the applicant has not done so within the applicable time limit, the international application will be considered withdrawn and the receiving Office will so declare. However, any translation and any payment which are received by the receiving Office before that Office makes the declaration that the international application is considered withdrawn, and before the expiration of 17 months from the priority date, will be considered to have been received before the expiration of the applicable time limit.
6.023. What is the amount of the late furnishing fee for translations?
The late furnishing fee which any receiving Office may collect for translations which are furnished after the expiration of the time limit of 14 months from the priority date, is equal to 25% of the international filing fee referred to in item 1 of the Schedule of Fees, not taking into account any fee for each sheet of the international application in excess of 30 sheets.
CORRECTION OF DEFECTS AND INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE OF MISSING ELEMENTS OR PARTS, OR CORRECT ELEMENTS OR PARTS IN CASE THEY HAVE BEEN ERRONEOUSLY FILED
6.024. What defects in the international application may be corrected and within what time limits?
The following paragraphs attempt to give general answers to those questions in the characteristic cases of possible defects.
6.025. What defects influence the international filing date?
(i) Where the receiving Office finds that the international application does not comply with the requirements for according an international filing date - in other words:
Article 11(1)(i)
(a) that the applicant obviously lacks, for reasons of residence and nationality, the right to file an international application with the receiving Office (but also refer to paragraphs 6.035 and 6.036);
Article 11(1)(iii)(a)
(b) that the international application does not contain an indication that it is intended as an international application;
Article 11(1)(iii)(b)
(c) that the international application does not contain a request which constitutes the designation of all Contracting States bound by the PCT on the international filing date (underRule 4.9(a) - refer to paragraph 5.052);
Article 11(1)(iii)(c)
(d) that the international application does not contain the name of the applicant or does not contain at least the minimum indications concerning the name of the applicant which are indicated in paragraph 6.005(iii)(c);
Article 11(1)(iii)(d), Article 11(1)(iii)(e)
(e) that the international application does not contain a part which, on the face of it, appears to be a description and a part which, on the face of it, appears to be a claim or claims;
Article 11(1)(ii), Rule 19.4, Rule 20.3, Rule 20.6, Rule 20.7
the receiving Office invites the applicant to correct the defect. The time limit for filing the correction is two months from the date of the invitation to correct. If the correction is made within the time limit, the date of receipt of the correction becomes the international filing date; otherwise, the application is not treated as an international application (but also refer to paragraphs 6.035 and 6.036 in relation to the applicant’s residence and nationality, and paragraphs 6.013 to 6.020 for applications filed in a language which is accepted by the receiving Office but which is not both a language accepted by the International Searching Authority which is to carry out international searching, and a language of publication). Where the defect concerns item (i)(e) above, the receiving Office will invite the applicant to confirm in accordance with Rule 20.6 that the missing element concerned was incorporated by reference under Rule 4.18 (refer to paragraphs 6.027 to 6.031), in which case it may be possible to retain the earlier date as the international filing date. Where the required elements of the international application are not in a language accepted by the receiving Office, that Office will transmit the international application to the International Bureau as receiving Office under Rule 19.4 (noting that the International Bureau as receiving Office is prepared to accept international applications filed in any language; refer to paragraph 6.034 and Annex C).
Article 14(2), Rule 20.5, Rule 20.5bis, Rule 20.7
(ii) Where the receiving Office finds that parts of the description, claims, all drawings or parts thereof are, or appear to be, missing or that the description, claims, parts of the description or claims, all drawings or parts thereof are or appear to be erroneously filed, it notifies the applicant accordingly and invites the applicant to correct the defect or else, where appropriate, to confirm in accordance with Rule 20.6 that the missing part or correct element or part was incorporated by reference under Rule 4.18 (refer to paragraph 6.027 to 6.031 for details). The time limit for furnishing such missing parts or correct elements or parts is two months from the date of the invitation. If no invitation is issued and the applicant notices and wishes to correct a defect, this is also permitted within a time limit of two months from the date on which papers were first received by the receiving Office. If the missing parts or correct elements or parts are furnished within that time limit, the date of their receipt becomes the international filing date, unless the applicant is able to confirm in accordance with Rule 20.6 that the missing part or correct element or part concerned was incorporated by reference under Rule 4.18 (refer to paragraphs 6.027 to 6.031), in which case it may be possible to retain the earlier date as the international filing date. Where missing drawings referred to in the international application are not furnished within the time limit, any references to drawings in the international application are considered non-existent and the international filing date remains as originally accorded. However, where the international filing date is corrected to a later date, any priority claim will be considered void, for the purposes of the procedure under the PCT, if the accorded international filing date falls outside the two month period after the expiration of the priority period of the priority claim concerned (refer to paragraphs 5.060 and 6.038).
Rule 20.5(e), Rule 20.5bis(e)
(iii) Where the international filing date has been corrected, the applicant may, in a notice submitted to the receiving Office within one month from the date of mailing of the notification of later submitted elements or parts (Form PCT/RO/126), request that the missing part or the correct element or part be disregarded in order to preserve the date on which papers were first received as the international filing date and, where applicable, to retain the priority claim (Rule 20.5(e) or 20.5bis(e)). The applicant will be notified of the decision made by the receiving Office on whether the international filing date has been restored (Form PCT/RO/129).
6.026. What happens if all sheets of the international application are not received on the same day?
Rule 20.3(b), Rule 20.5(b), Rule 20.5(c), Rule 20.5(d), Rule 20.5bis(b), Rule 20.5bis(c), Rule 20.5bis(d), Rule 20.7
The receipt of further sheets after an invitation to correct has been sent under Article 11(2)(a) or 14(2) (refer to paragraph 6.025) generally results in the date of receipt of those further sheets being accorded as the international filing date, provided that they are received within the applicable time limit under Rule 20.7, and unless the applicant is able to include these later submitted sheets by way of incorporation by reference (refer to paragraphs 6.027 to 6.031). If no invitation to correct has been sent but all the sheets relating to the same purported international application (apart from the abstract) are not received on the same day by the receiving Office, and the applicant has not confirmed the incorporation by reference of those later submitted sheets, the Office corrects the request by marking on it the date on which the papers completing the international application were received, and that later date is accorded as the international filing date, provided that the later sheets were received within two months from the date on which sheets were first received. Each sheet is marked with the date on which it was actually received. In case those later submitted sheets are to correct erroneously filed sheets, and the applicant has not confirmed the incorporation by reference of those later submitted sheets, the erroneously filed sheets concerned are removed from the application. The absence or late receipt of the abstract does not, of itself, result in correction of the date marked on the request or in the according of a later international filing date.
6.027. Can missing or correct pages be added to an international application without affecting the international filing date?
Rule 19.4(a)(iii), Rule 20.3, Rule 20.5, Rule 20.5bis, Rule 20.8
This is possible under certain circumstances, but the resulting international filing date will not be recognized in some Contracting States (refer to paragraph 6.031). Under Rule 4.18, where an element of the international application referred to in Article 11(1)(iii)(d) or (e) or a part of the description, claims or drawings referred to in Rule 20.5(a), or an element or part of the description, claims or drawings referred to in Rule 20.5bis(a) is not otherwise contained in the international application but is completely contained in the earlier application of which priority is claimed on the date on which one or more elements referred to in Article 11(1)(iii) were first received by the receiving Office, it is possible to incorporate by reference these missing or correct elements or parts into the international application. Such incorporation by reference will have the effect that the elements or parts which have been incorporated by reference will be considered to have been received on the date on which one or more elements referred to in Article 11(1)(iii) were first received. As a result, the international filing date would remain the date when one or more elements referred to in Article 11(1)(iii) were first received (provided that all other Article 11 requirements for the according of a filing date are met). These procedures do not apply to missing pages if the receiving Office has notified the International Bureau under Rule 20.8(a) that any of Rules 20.3(a)(ii) and (b)(ii), 20.5(a)(ii) and (d), and 20.6 are not compatible with its national law. Moreover, these procedures do not apply to correct pages if the receiving Office has notified the International Bureau under Rule 20.8(a-bis) that any of Rules 20.5bis(a)(ii) and (d) are not compatible with its national law. Such a receiving Office will therefore neither invite nor accept a confirmation of the incorporation by reference. Instead, the receiving Office would apply the above described correction procedure (paragraph 6.025). A list of Offices which have notified the International Bureau under Rule 20.8(a) and/or 20.8(a-bis) and which will therefore not accept the incorporation by reference of missing elements or parts can be found on WIPO’s website at https://www.wipo.int/pct/en/texts/reservations/res_incomp.html. If the need to incorporate certain missing or correct elements or parts becomes apparent after the international application has been filed, the applicant may request the receiving Office to transmit the international application to the receiving Office of the International Bureau under Rule 19.4(a)(iii), which does accept the incorporation by reference of missing or correct elements or parts.
6.028. How should missing or correct elements or parts be incorporated by reference into the international application?
Rule 4.18, Rule 20.6
A statement of incorporation by reference referred to in Rule 4.18 must have been included in the international application on the date when one or more elements referred to in Article 11(1)(iii) are first received by the receiving Office. Such a statement is automatically included if Form PCT/RO/101 is used in paper or electronically. If such a statement was not contained in the request at the time of filing, it can only be added to the request if it was otherwise contained in, or submitted with, the international application on the date of filing. Furthermore, one or several priority claims to earlier applications which completely contain the missing or correct element or part must have been made in the international application at the time of filing. Adding such priority claims under Rule 26bis.1(a) would not be sufficient. If these requirements have been met, the applicant should confirm the incorporation by reference by way of a written notice to the receiving Office within the time limit indicated below. Such notice should be accompanied by:
— a sheet or sheets embodying the entire element or part as contained in the earlier application;
— where the applicant has not already complied with the requirements of Rule 17.1(a), (b) or b-bis, a copy of the earlier application as filed;
— where Rule 20.6(a)(iii) applies, a translation or translations of the earlier application; and
— in the case of a missing or correct part, an indication as to where the part is contained in the earlier application and, where applicable, in any translation of the earlier application.
6.029. What is the time limit for confirming the incorporation by reference of missing or correct elements or parts?
Rule 20.7
Where no invitation by the receiving Office has been sent to submit missing or correct elements or parts (Form PCT/RO/103 or PCT/RO/107), the time limit to confirm is two months from the date on which papers were first received by the receiving Office. Where such an invitation has been issued, the time limit to confirm is two months from the date of mailing of this invitation. If this time limit expires after the expiration of 12 months from the filing date of the earliest application, the priority of which is claimed, the receiving Office will draw this circumstance to the attention of the applicant (as a warning that, if the missing or correct elements or parts are not confirmed to have been incorporated by reference and the international filing date is thus corrected to a date after the expiration of the priority period, the correction of the international filing date may result in the loss of the right of priority; the same applies, even if the missing or correct elements or parts are confirmed to have been incorporated by reference, with regard to those States which do not apply the provisions concerning incorporation by reference (refer to paragraph 6.031)). For missing elements, where the applicant has neither submitted a correction under Article 11(2) nor a notice under Rule 20.6(a) confirming the incorporation by reference of missing elements referred to in Article 11(1)(iii)(d) or (e) prior to the expiration of this two-month time limit, any such correction or notice received by the receiving Office after the expiration of that time limit, but before it has sent a notification under Rule 20.4(i) (Form PCT/RO/104) to the applicant, is considered to have been received within the time limit (Rule 20.7(b)).
6.029A. What happens to the erroneously filed element or part if the incorporation by reference of the correct element or part is confirmed?
Rule 20.5bis(d), Section 309(b)(iv)
Where a correct element or part is considered to have been contained in the purported international application on the date on which one or more elements referred to in Article 11(1)(iii) were first received by the receiving Office under Rule 20.6(b), the erroneously filed element or part concerned will remain in the application. The receiving Office will mark those erroneously filed sheets as “ERRONEOUSLY FILED (RULE 20.5bis)” and move those sheets to the end of the corresponding element of the purported international application. The receiving Office will transmit the erroneously filed sheets to the International Bureau and they will be published as part of the international application.
6.030. What are the consequences if the requirements for the incorporation by reference are not complied with?
Rule 20.3(b)(i), Rule 20.4, Rule 20.5(c), Rule 20.5(e), Rule 20.5bis(c), Rule 20.5bis(e)
If not all of the requirements for the incorporation by reference are fulfilled (for example, if a missing or correct element or part is not entirely contained in the earlier application), the international application will be assigned a later international filing date (the date of receipt of the missing or correct element or part, to the extent that all other requirements of Article 11(1) are complied with on that date) (refer to paragraphs 6.025 and 6.026). The applicant may, however, request that the missing part or correct element or part be disregarded, in accordance with Rule 20.5(e) or 20.5bis(e) (refer to paragraph 6.025(iii)). In this case, the international filing date will be reinstated and the missing part or correct element or part will be considered not to have been submitted.
6.031. What are the effects of the successful incorporation of missing or correct elements or parts on designated or elected Offices?
Rule 20.8(c), Rule 82ter.1
In most Contracting States, the elements or parts will be treated as if they had actually been contained in the international application as originally filed. Designated and elected Offices may, to a limited extent, review decisions by receiving Offices which have allowed incorporation by reference (Rule 82ter.1(b)). If the designated or elected Office finds that: the applicant did not comply with the obligation to furnish a priority document; the statement of incorporation was missing or not submitted with the request; no written notice confirming incorporation by reference was submitted; no required translation was furnished; or the element or part in question was not completely contained in the priority document; then the designated or elected Office may treat the international application as if the international filing date had been accorded on the basis of the date on which the sheets containing the missing or correct elements or parts were submitted, but only after giving the applicant the opportunity to make observations on this outcome and/or to request that, at least, the missing parts or the correct elements or parts which had been furnished be disregarded, in accordance with Rule 82ter.1(d).
However, those designated Offices which have submitted notifications of incompatibility under Rule 20.8(b) and/or (b-bis), may treat the international application as if the international filing date had been accorded on the basis of the date on which the sheets containing the missing or correct elements or parts, as the case may be, were submitted, but also only after having given the applicant the opportunity to make observations on this outcome and/or to request that, at least, the missing parts or the correct elements or parts which had been furnished be disregarded, pursuant to Rule 20.8(c).
6.032. What defects do not influence the international filing date?
Where the receiving Office finds that
Article 14(1)(a)(i), Rule 2.3, Rule 4.1(d), Rule 4.15
(i) the international application is not signed (or, in the cases referred to in paragraph 5.091, does not bear a seal; also refer to paragraph 11.027 for cases where an applicant refuses to sign or cannot be found or reached);
Article 14(1)(a)(ii), Rule 4.4, Rule 4.5
(ii) the international application does not contain the name of the applicant presented in the prescribed way (other than those referred to in paragraph 6.005(iii)(c), for which case refer to paragraph 6.025(i)(d)), or the prescribed indications in respect of at least one of the applicants - these indications are specified in Rules 4.4 and 4.5; they include, in particular, the applicant’s address, residence and nationality;
Article 14(1)(a(iii), Rule 4.3
(iii) the international application does not contain a title (that is, a title for the claimed invention);
Article 14(1)(a)(iv), Rule 8
(iv) the international application does not contain an abstract;
Article 14(1)(a)(v), Rule 11, Rule 26.3
(v) the international application and, where applicable, the translation of the international application, does not comply, to the extent provided for in the Regulations, with the prescribed physical requirements (the physical requirements are specified in detail in Rule 11; compliance with them must be checked only to the extent that such compliance is necessary for the purpose of reasonably uniform international publication, and no international application will be considered withdrawn for lack of such compliance if it complies to the extent necessary for the purpose of reasonably uniform international publication);
Article 3(4)(i), Rule 12.1, Rule 26.3ter(a)
(vi) any element of the international application, other than the description and claims, is not in an admitted language (refer to paragraphs 5.013, 6.005(ii) and 6.006);
Article 14(1)(b), Rule 26.1, Rule 26.2, Rule 26.2bis(b), Rule 26.3ter(b), Rule 26.5, Rule 29.1
the receiving Office invites the applicant to correct the defect (however, regarding international applications which are filed in a language which is accepted by the receiving Office but require translation, refer to paragraphs 6.013 to 6.020). The time limit for filing the correction is two months from the date of the invitation. If the correction is made within the time limit (including any extension - refer to paragraph 6.037), the international filing date remains the date on which the international application was received by the receiving Office; otherwise, the international application is considered withdrawn. In certain Offices, however, the provisions of Rule 26.3ter(a) for correction of elements not in an accepted language are incompatible with the applicable national law. For as long as that incompatibility continues, that Rule will not apply for those Offices; all elements of an international application filed with those Offices as receiving Office must therefore comply with the language requirements of Rule 12.1 before an international filing date can be accorded (also refer to paragraph 6.006 and refer to Annex C for details).
6.033. [Deleted]
6.034. What happens if the application is filed in a language which is not accepted by the receiving Office?
Rule 19.4(a)(ii), Rule 19.4(b), Rule 19.4(c)
If the international application is filed in a language which is not a language accepted by the national (or regional) Office with which it is filed, but is in a language accepted by the International Bureau as receiving Office, that international application will be considered to have been received by that Office on behalf of the International Bureau as receiving Office. In fact, the International Bureau as receiving Office accepts international applications filed in any language (refer to Annex C). In such a case, the international application will be date-stamped by the national (or regional) Office concerned and promptly transmitted to the International Bureau (unless this is prevented by national security prescriptions). That transmittal may be subjected to the payment of a fee equal to the transmittal fee (refer to paragraph 5.184(i) and Annex C), but other fees paid will be refunded by the national (or regional) Office to the applicant and the applicable fees will then have to be paid to the International Bureau as receiving Office (refer to Annex C). The international application so transmitted will be considered to have been received by the International Bureau as receiving Office on the date on which it was received by the national (or regional) Office, except that, for the purposes of calculating the time limits for paying the fees due on filing the international application to the competent receiving Office, the date of receipt of the international application is considered to be the date on which the international application was actually received by the International Bureau as receiving Office.
6.035. What happens if the applicant is a resident or national of a Contracting State but files the application with a “non-competent” receiving Office?
Rule 19.4(a)(i), Rule 19.4(b), Rule 19.4(c)
If the international application is erroneously filed with a national (or regional) Office which acts as a receiving Office under the Treaty by an applicant who is a resident or national of a Contracting State, but that Office is not competent under Rule 19.1 or 19.2 (having regard to the applicant’s residence and nationality) to receive the international application, the international application will be considered to have been received by the Office with which it was filed on behalf of the International Bureau as receiving Office (refer to paragraphs 5.008 and 5.009). In such a case, the international application will be date-stamped by the national (or regional) Office concerned and promptly transmitted to the International Bureau (unless this is prevented by national security prescriptions). That transmittal may be subjected by the national Office to the payment of a fee equal to the transmittal fee (refer to paragraph 5.184(i) and Annex C), but other fees paid will be refunded by the national Office to the applicant and the applicable fees will then have to be paid to the International Bureau as receiving Office (refer to Annex C (IB)). The international application so transmitted will be considered to have been received by the International Bureau as receiving Office on the date on which it was received by the national (or regional) Office, except that, for the purposes of calculating the time limits for paying the fees due on filing the international application, the date of receipt of the international application is considered to be the date on which the international application was actually received by the International Bureau as receiving Office.
6.036. May the applicant correct indications of residence and nationality?
Article 11(1)(i), Article 14(1)(a)(ii), Rule 4.5, Section 329
If the indications of the applicant’s residence and nationality as stated in the request do not support the applicant’s right to file an international application (refer to paragraphs 5.020, 5.023 and 6.005(i)), that is, if the applicant appears not to be (or, where there are two or more applicants, none of the applicants appears to be) a resident or national of a Contracting State, there is prima facie a defect under Article 11(1)(i) and the receiving Office issues an invitation accordingly to correct that defect (refer to paragraph 6.025(i)(a)). The applicant may be able to show that he/she actually had, on the date on which the international application was received by the receiving Office, the right to file an international application with that receiving Office. In such a case, the applicant should submit evidence to the receiving Office accordingly, together with a proposed correction of the indications concerning his/her residence and/or nationality. If the receiving Office is satisfied, on the basis of that evidence, of the applicant’s right to file the international application, the invitation to correct the defect under Article 11(1)(i) will be considered to be an invitation to correct a defect under Article 14(1)(a)(ii) and Rule 4.5 in the prescribed indications concerning the applicant’s residence and/or nationality, and the indications may be corrected accordingly. If such a correction is made, no defect will be considered to exist under Article 11(1)(i), and the defect will thus not prevent the accordance of the actual date of receipt of the international application as the international filing date. Note, however, that the United States Patent and Trademark Office as receiving Office has stated that it will not apply the procedure outlined above.
6.037. Can time limits to correct certain defects be extended?
Rule 26.2
The time limit of two months for the correction of defects under Article 14(1) (refer to paragraph 6.032) may be extended by the receiving Office. The receiving Office may extend the time limit ex officio or at the request of the applicant at any time - even after the time limit fixed in the invitation has expired - before a decision is taken on whether the applicant has submitted the correction within the time limit and whether or not the international application so corrected is to be considered withdrawn. On the other hand, the time limits fixed by the receiving Office for the correction of defects under Article 11 or Article 14(2) (refer to paragraph 6.025) and for the payment of missing or underpaid fees under Rule 16bis (refer to paragraphs 5.193 and 5.195) may not be extended.
6.038. Can defects in priority claims be corrected?
Rule 26bis.1(a), Rule 26bis.2(b), Rule 91
Any defective priority claim may be corrected and any missing priority claim added by a notice which may be submitted to the receiving Office or the International Bureau. The time limit for correcting or adding a priority claim is 16 months from the priority date or, where the correction or addition would cause a change in the priority date, 16 months from the priority date as so changed, whichever 16 month period expires first, provided that a notice correcting or adding a priority claim may in any event be submitted until the expiration of four months from the international filing date. If a correction of a priority claim is received before the receiving Office or the International Bureau, as the case may be, declares the priority claim void (refer to paragraph 6.043) and not later than one month after the expiration of the applicable time limit, it is considered to have been received before the expiration of that time limit. To correct a priority claim, any indication relating to that priority claim may be changed, added or deleted. It should be noted that an obvious mistake in priority claims may be rectified under Rule 91 within a time limit of 26 months from the priority date provided that the rectification of the mistake would not cause a change in the earliest priority date.
6.039
Where the applicant has made a request for early publication of the international application, any notice to correct or add a priority claim received by the receiving Office or the International Bureau after that request was made will be considered not to have been submitted, unless that request is withdrawn before the technical preparations for international publication have been completed.
6.040. The priority claim in my international application has been corrected which results in a new priority date. How will upcoming time limits be calculated?
Rule 26bis.1(c)
Where the correction or addition of a priority claim causes a change in the priority date, any time limit which is computed from the previously applicable priority date and which has not already expired will be computed from the priority date as so changed.
6.041. Can the applicant be invited to correct defects in a priority claim?
Rule 26bis.2
Where the receiving Office or, if the receiving Office fails to do so, the International Bureau, finds in relation to a priority claim that;
(i) the international application has an international filing date which is later than the date on which the priority period expired and that no request for restoration of the right of priority has been submitted;
(ii) the priority claim does not comply with the requirements of Rule 4.10 (refer to paragraph 5.057); or
(iii) any indication in a priority claim is not the same as the corresponding indication appearing in the priority document;
the receiving Office or the International Bureau, as the case may be, will invite the applicant to correct the priority claim.
6.042. The filing date of my international application is outside the priority period of 12 months. Will the receiving Office invite me to correct the priority claim?
Rule 26bis.2(a), Rule 26bis.3
Where the defect consists of the fact that the filing date of the international application is outside the priority period but is within two months from the date on which the priority period expired, the receiving Office also informs the applicant of the possibility of submitting a request for the restoration of the right of priority in accordance with Rule 26bis.3 (refer to paragraphs 5.062 to 5.069), except where the receiving Office has notified the International Bureau under Rule 26bis.3(j) of the incompatibility of Rule 26bis.3(a) to (i) with the national law applied by that Office.
6.043. I did not respond to an invitation from the receiving Office to correct my priority claim. Will the priority claim be considered void?
Rule 26bis.2(c)
If the applicant fails to respond to an invitation from the receiving Office or the International Bureau to correct a priority claim before the expiration of the time limit for doing so, that priority claim will, for the purposes of the procedure under the Treaty, be considered void and the receiving Office or the International Bureau, as the case may be, will so declare and inform the applicant accordingly. However, a priority claim will not be considered void only because the indication of the number of the earlier application is missing, an indication in the priority claim is not the same as the corresponding indication appearing in the priority document, or the international application has an international filing date which is later than the date on which the priority period expired, provided that the international filing date is within two months of that date.
6.044
Rule 26bis.2(d), Rule 26bis.2(e)
Where the receiving Office or the International Bureau has made a declaration that a priority claim will be considered void, for the purposes of the procedure under the PCT, or where the priority claim has only not been considered void because Rule 26bis.2(c) applies (refer to last sentence of paragraph 6.043), the International Bureau will publish, together with the international application, information concerning the priority claim, as well as any information submitted by the applicant concerning such priority claim which is received by the International Bureau prior to the completion of the technical preparations for international publication. Where the applicant wishes to correct or add a priority claim but the time limit to do so under Rule 26bis.1 has expired, the applicant may, prior to the expiration of 30 months from the priority date and subject to the payment of a special fee (refer to Section 113(c) of the Administrative Instructions), request the International Bureau to publish information concerning the matter.
6.045. Can defects in declarations referred to in Rule 4.17 be corrected? Can declarations be added?
Rule 26ter.1
Any defective declaration may be corrected and any new (missing) declaration may be added by a notice submitted to the International Bureau by the applicant, either in response to an invitation to correct (refer to paragraph 6.046) or on his/her own initiative. The time limit for correcting or adding a declaration is 16 months from the priority date. Any correction or addition which is received by the International Bureau after that time limit is considered to have been received on the last day of the time limit if it reaches the International Bureau before the technical preparations for international publication have been completed.
6.046. Which are the defects in declarations made under Rule 4.17 in respect of which the applicant may be invited to submit a correction?
Rule 26ter.2(a)
Where the receiving Office or the International Bureau finds that any declaration contained in the request appears to be defective or incomplete, the receiving Office or the International Bureau, as the case may be, may invite the applicant to correct the declaration within the time limit referred to in paragraph 6.045. The kinds of defects which may give rise to an invitation are, for example, the fact that a declaration does not contain the standardized wording as prescribed, or that the blank spaces have not been filled in with names, dates, etc., furthermore, in respect of the declaration of inventorship for the purposes of the designation of the United States of America, that it is not signed as prescribed.
6.047. How should a correction or addition of a declaration referred to in Rule 4.17 be presented?
Section 216, Section 317
Any correction or addition of a declaration must be made by way of a notice consisting of the corrected or added declaration itself accompanied by a letter explaining the correction or addition. Such notice should be submitted directly to the International Bureau in all cases, even if that notice is in response to an invitation issued by the receiving Office. Any notice nevertheless submitted to the receiving Office will be date stamped by that Office and transmitted to the International Bureau.
6.048
Section 214(c)
In the case of a corrected declaration, the applicant must submit a replacement sheet, using the relevant Box (amongst Boxes Nos. VIII (i) to (v)). In the case of an added declaration, the applicant may either use the relevant sub-box mentioned above or a blank sheet of paper. Any corrected or added declaration of inventorship for the purposes of the designation of the United States of America should be signed and dated by the inventor and should be entitled "Supplemental declaration of inventorship (Rules 4.17(iv) and 51bis.1(a)(iv)".
6.049. What happens when the applicant fails to correct a declaration referred to in Rule 4.17?
Rule 48.2(b)(iv)
The International Bureau will publish declarations, either as originally filed, or as corrected, whether or not they comply with Rule 4.17. Furthermore, an indication about the fact that declarations were made will be included in the front page of the published international application.
6.050. What happens where the International Bureau receives a correction or addition of a declaration referred to in Rule 4.17 after the applicable time limit?
Rule 26ter.1, Section 419(c)
Where the International Bureau receives a correction or addition of a declaration after the applicable time limit (refer to paragraph 6.045), it will notify the applicant accordingly. It does not publish that declaration, or communicate that declaration to the designated Office(s), but informs the applicant that any such declaration should be submitted directly to the designated Office(s) concerned. In the case of a declaration of inventorship signed by at least one of the inventors, the International Bureau will return the declaration to the applicant.
6.051. Is the receiving Office the only authority which may note any of the above defects during the international phase?
Rule 28
If, in the opinion of the International Bureau, the international application is not signed as provided in the Regulations by at least one of the applicants, or does not contain the name of the applicant presented in the prescribed way, or the prescribed indications in respect of at least one of the applicants, or does not comply to the extent provided in the Regulations with the prescribed physical requirements, the International Bureau, brings such defects to the attention of the receiving Office. Unless that Office believes that there is no defect, it must then invite the applicant to correct it, within a time limit of two months from the date of the invitation (refer to paragraph 6.032).
6.052. How should a correction be presented?
Rule 26.4, Rule 92.1
The correction must generally be filed in the form of one or more replacement sheets incorporating the correction and accompanied by a letter. The letter accompanying a replacement sheet must explain the differences between the replacement sheet and the one it replaces. Correction by letter without replacement sheets is possible only for corrections of the request where the correction is of such a nature that it can be transferred from the letter to the request or other part of the record copy without any adverse effect on the clarity and the direct reproducibility of the sheet onto which the correction is to be transferred. As to the signature and other requirements of such letters, refer to Rule 92.1
6.053. Does a correction entail the payment of a fee?
Both the request for and the making of any correction are free of charge. There is also no fee for the extension of a time limit for correction (refer to paragraph 6.037).
6.054. Can the applicant appeal or file a petition against an unfavorable decision of the receiving Office?
The PCT does not expressly provide for any appeal or petition during the international phase. However, practice has shown that receiving Offices reconsider their decisions on petition, and that some national courts or appeal boards have accepted appeals against decisions taken by national (or regional) Offices in their capacity as receiving Offices. However, the latter possibility, even where the applicant is successful in obtaining a favorable revision of the decision of the receiving Office, may remain without effect in the States designated in the international application, particularly when the applicant has not performed the acts required under Article 22(1), 39(1)(a) or 25 within the applicable time limit.
6.055
Article 25, Rule 29.1, Rule 51
The PCT provides for the review by designated Offices of any decision of the receiving Office refusing to accord an international filing date or declaring that the international application is considered withdrawn. (For details of the procedure, including the time limit for requesting such review, refer to National Phase, paragraphs 6.018 to 6.021.)
6.056. Can failure to meet a time limit in the proceedings before the receiving Office or a delay in furnishing documents to that Office be excused?
Article 24(2), Article 48(2), Rule 82bis
The PCT provides that any Contracting State must, as far as that State is concerned, excuse, for reasons allowed by the national law, any delay in meeting any time limit. Moreover, any Contracting State may, as far as it is concerned, excuse for other reasons any delay in meeting any time limit. Finally, any designated Office may maintain the effect of an international application (refer to paragraphs 5.003 to 5.007), even where the decision of the receiving Office to the effect that the international application, or the designation of the State concerned, is considered withdrawn is found to be correct. (For details, refer to National Phase, paragraph 6.021.)
RECORD COPY AND SEARCH COPY
6.057. How does the record copy reach the International Bureau?
Article 12(2), Article 12(3), Article 22(1), Article 24(1)(ii), Article 24(1)(iii), Rule 22.1, Rule 22.3
What are the consequences if it does not reach the International Bureau within the prescribed time limit? The record copy (refer to paragraph 5.180), which incidentally is, for the purposes of the procedure under the PCT, considered the true copy of the international application, must reach the International Bureau in time because, if the record copy has not been received by that Bureau within the prescribed time limit, the international application is considered withdrawn. However, no international application is considered withdrawn in such a case without the applicant having been informed beforehand (refer to paragraph 6.058). Failure to transmit the record copy does not relieve the applicant of the obligation to enter the national phase before the designated Offices within the applicable time limit (refer to National Phase, paragraphs 6.022 to 6.027).
6.058. How does the International Bureau monitor the receipt of the record copy?
Rule 20.2(c), Rule 22.1(e)
The International Bureau, once informed by the receiving Office of the international application number and of the international filing date, monitors the receipt of the record copy. If the International Bureau has not received the record copy within 13 months from the priority date, it urges the receiving Office to send it. If, one month later, the record copy has still not been received, the International Bureau notifies the applicant of the fact. The applicant can then ask the receiving Office either to transmit the record copy or to issue – and this must be done free of charge – a certified copy of the international application which the applicant can directly transmit to the International Bureau. Only after the expiration of three months from the above-mentioned notification from the International Bureau to the applicant may the International Bureau make the finding that no record copy has been received within the prescribed time limit. Thus the applicant will always have been warned and offered the possibility of taking care of the transmittal of the record copy himself/herself before any loss of rights can occur. The certification of a copy of the international application must be made free of charge in such a case, and may be refused only in certain cases (for instance where national security considerations prevent the international application from being treated as such; for details, refer to Rule 22.1(e)).
6.059. How does the search copy reach the International Searching Authority?
Article 12(1), Rule 12.1(c), Rule 23.1, Rule 25.1
The search copy (refer to paragraph 5.180) is transmitted by the receiving Office to the International Searching Authority. The search copy is only transmitted if the international search fee has been fully paid to the receiving Office (refer to paragraphs 5.184(ii), 5.193, 5.195 and 5.198), and, where the international application was filed in a language not accepted by the International Searching Authority, only after the required translation has been furnished (refer to paragraph 5.181). Therefore, it is in the applicant’s interests to pay the search fee promptly, and, where applicable, furnish the translation promptly, in order to avoid any delay in establishment of the international search report. The International Searching Authority notifies the International Bureau, the applicant and the receiving Office of the fact and date of receipt of the search copy.
6.060. Can the applicant obtain certified copies of the international application?
Rule 21.2
Upon request and against payment of a fee, the receiving Office must furnish to the applicant certified copies of the international application as filed and of any corrections to it. The certified copy of the international application is the priority document where the applicant claims the priority of that international application. For copies of priority documents referred to in the international application, refer to paragraph 5.070.

CHAPTER 7: THE INTERNATIONAL SEARCH PROCEDURE: PROCESSING OF THE INTERNATIONAL APPLICATION BY THE INTERNATIONAL SEARCHING AUTHORITY

GENERAL
7.001. What are the main procedural steps before the International Searching Authority?
Article 15, Article 18, Rule 43, Rule 43bis.1
The main procedural steps that any international application goes through before the International Searching Authority are the following:
(i) conducting the international search,
(ii) preparing the international search report, and
(iii) establishing a written opinion.
7.002. Which International Searching Authority is competent?
Article 16, Rule 4.14bis, Rule 35
Each receiving Office (except the International Bureau as receiving Office – refer to paragraph 5.008) specifies one or more International Searching Authorities as competent to carry out international searches on international applications filed with it. For some receiving Offices, different International Searching Authorities are competent depending on the language in which the international application is filed or, where the international application is filed in a language accepted by the receiving Office but not by the International Searching Authority, translated. Where several International Searching Authorities are specified as competent by the receiving Office, the applicant may choose between them (subject to any such language restriction). Annex C indicates the International Searching Authority or Authorities specified as competent by each receiving Office, and the languages in which international applications filed with that Office are accepted for international search by those Authorities. Where the international application is filed with the International Bureau as receiving Office, the competent International Searching Authority (or Authorities) is that (or are those) which would have been competent if the international application had been filed with a competent national (or regional) Office as receiving Office. All of the languages accepted for search by each International Searching Authority are set out in Annex D. Where two or more International Searching Authorities are competent to carry out the international search, the applicant must indicate the Authority of his/her choice in the request form (refer to paragraph 5.072) and should also indicate it in the fee calculation sheet (refer to paragraphs 5.093 and 5.187). Finally, within the framework of the respective agreements relating to the functioning of certain Offices as International Searching Authorities, these Authorities may provide for limitations of their competence in respect of certain international applications. The consolidated texts of these Agreements are available on the WIPO website at the following address: https://www.wipo.int/pct/en/access/isa_ipea_agreements.html. For more detailed information, refer to Annex D.
7.002A. May the applicant submit comments on earlier search results to the Authority that shall carry out the international search?
Where an international application claims the priority of an earlier application in relation to which a search had already been carried out by the same Office that acts as International Searching Authority, some International Searching Authorities have indicated that they would, when carrying out the international search, consider comments made by applicants in response to the earlier search results relating to the priority application. Applicants who wish to have such comments taken into account should submit them to the receiving Office together with the international application, typically by checking Box No. IX of the request, sub-box "Other", and indicating "Informal comments on earlier search results". These informal comments would then be transmitted to the International Searching Authority and the International Bureau together with the search copy and the record copy. Informal comments on earlier search results will be published on PATENTSCOPE (For information on which International Searching Authorities offer this service, refer to Annex D.)
7.003. What is the purpose of the international search?
Article 15(4), Rule 33
The purpose of the international search is to discover relevant prior art. “Prior art” consists of everything which has been made available to the public anywhere in the world by means of written disclosure (including drawings and other illustrations); it is “relevant” in respect of the international application if it can help determine whether or not the claimed invention is new, whether or not it involves an inventive step (in other words, whether it is or is not obvious), and whether the making available to the public occurred prior to the international filing date (for further details, refer to Rule 33). The international search is made on the basis of the claims, with due regard to the description and the drawings (if any) contained in the international application. The results of the international search are set out in the international search report (refer to paragraphs 7.023 to 7.026).
7.004. What documents are searched by the International Searching Authority?
Article 15(4), Rule 34.1
The International Searching Authority must endeavor to discover as much of the relevant prior art as its facilities permit, and it must in any case consult the so-called “minimum documentation.” Roughly stated, the latter comprises the published patent documents issued after 1919 by France, by Germany from 1920 to 1945 and by the Federal Republic of Germany since 1945, by Japan (for International Searching Authorities other than the Japan Patent Office (JPO), only those documents for which English abstracts are generally available), by the People’s Republic of China (for International Searching Authorities other than the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA), only those documents for which English abstracts are generally available), by the Republic of Korea (for International Searching Authorities other than the Korean Intellectual Property Office, only those documents for which English abstracts are generally available), by the former Soviet Union and now by the Russian Federation (for International Searching Authorities other than the Federal Service for Intellectual Property (Rospatent)(Russian Federation) only those documents for which English abstracts are generally available), by Switzerland (except documents in Italian), by the United Kingdom, by the United States of America, by the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI), by the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), by the Eurasian Patent Office and by the European Patent Office; published international (PCT) applications; and, from various dates, about 135 technical periodicals. It is emphasized, however, that, where the International Searching Authority has more than the “minimum documentation” at its disposal, it is obliged also to consult that additional documentation to the extent permitted by its facilities.
7.004A. What if the international application contains later submitted missing parts or correct elements or parts?
Rule 20.5, Rule 20.5bis
The international search will usually be carried out on the basis of the application containing the missing parts or the correct elements or parts. In the case of incorporation by reference of correct elements or parts, although the erroneously filed elements or parts remain in the international application as per Rule 20.5bis(d), they will not have to be considered for the purpose of international search.
7.004B
Rule 20.5(c), Rule 20.5(d), Rule 20.5bis(c), Rule 20.5bis(d), Rule 40bis.1
However, if the inclusion or incorporation by reference of missing parts or correct elements or parts is notified to the International Searching Authority only after it has begun to draw up the international search report, it may invite the applicant to pay an additional fee for that purpose. The invitation will invite the applicant to pay the additional fee within one month from the date of the invitation and indicate the amount of the fee to be paid. The applicant will then have to pay this additional fee directly to the International Searching Authority. If the additional fee is not paid within the time limit, the International Searching Authority will draw up the international search report and the written opinion without taking into account the missing parts or correct elements or parts.
NUCLEOTIDE AND/OR AMINO ACID SEQUENCE LISTINGS
7.005. What special requirements apply during the international search to a nucleotide and/or amino acid sequence listing?
Rule 5.2, Rule 13ter.1, Section 208, Section 513(a)
Where the International Searching Authority finds that an international application contains disclosure of one or more nucleotide and/or amino acid sequences required to be included in a sequence listing pursuant to Annex C of the Administrative Instructions and that the sequence listing complying with the prescribed standard (refer to paragraph 5.099) in a language accepted by that Authority has not already been furnished (either as part of the international application or filed subsequently for the purposes of international search), that Authority may invite the applicant to furnish a listing complying with this standard or containing a translation of the language-dependent free text in a language accepted by that Authority and, if applicable, to pay a late furnishing fee. The listing required by the International Searching Authority is for the purpose of carrying out the international search; the application of the requirements of national law in relation to disclosure of inventions involving a sequence listing is a matter for the national phase of processing.
7.006. [Deleted]
7.007. [Deleted]
7.008. Does the International Bureau recommend any software for the preparation of sequence listings in electronic format?
The sequence listing should be created using WIPO Sequence (refer to paragraph 5.104).
7.009. How should I label a diskette or any other electronic carrier accepted by the International Searching Authority for the submission of sequence listings?
Annex F - Appendix IV - 2.(f) of the Administrative Instructions
The diskette or any other electronic carrier that is acceptable to the competent International Searching Authority must have a label permanently affixed thereto on which has been typed, or hand-printed in block capitals, the name of the applicant, the title of the invention, a reference number, the date on which the data were recorded, the computer operating system and the name of the competent Authority. If the diskette or any other electronic carrier that is acceptable to the competent Authority is submitted after the date of filing of an application, the labels must also include the filing date of the application and the application number.
7.010. What is the procedure for furnishing a sequence listing upon invitation?
Rule 13ter.1(a), Rule 13ter.1(b), Rule 13ter.1(c), Rule 13ter.1(d)
An invitation from the International Searching Authority to furnish a sequence listing complying with the standard provided for in Annex C to the Administrative Instructions (refer to paragraphs 7.005 to 7.008) or containing a translation of the language-dependent free text, will specify a time limit for response to the invitation. The furnishing of a sequence listing in response to the invitation may be subjected by the International Searching Authority to the payment of a late furnishing fee. The amount of the late furnishing fee shall be determined by the International Searching Authority but shall not exceed 25% of the international filing fee referred to in item 1 of the Schedule of Fees (excluding any fee paid for each sheet of the international application in excess of 30). Any sequence listing furnished by the applicant must be accompanied by a statement to the effect that the listing does not go beyond the disclosure in the international application as filed. If the applicant does not comply within that time limit, the search undertaken by the International Searching Authority may be restricted (refer to paragraph 7.013).
7.011. Does a sequence listing furnished to the International Searching Authority form part of the international application?
Rule 13ter.1(e)
Any sequence listing furnished separately to the International Searching Authority under Rule 13ter is used only for the purposes of the international search and does not form part of the international application. Nevertheless, once the international application has been published, any such sequence listing will be made available for public inspection by the International Bureau on PATENTSCOPE (https://www.wipo.int/patentscope/en/). The applicant may later amend the description (under Article 34 or at the time of national phase entry) to include a sequence listing part of the description complying with WIPO Standard ST.26.
7.012. Will a sequence listing furnished to the International Searching Authority also meet any requirements of the International Preliminary Examining Authority or, in the national phase, of a designated Office?
Rule 13ter.2, Rule 49.5(a-bis)
The same requirements in relation to sequence listings for the purposes of international search apply during international preliminary examination (refer to paragraph 10.063). The International Preliminary Examining Authority may, for example, invite the applicant to furnish to it a sequence listing complying with the standard provided for in Annex C of the Administrative Instructions or containing a translation of the language-dependent free text in a language accepted by that Authority for the purposes of international preliminary examination. Concerning designated Offices, no designated Office may require the applicant to furnish to it a sequence listing other than a sequence listing complying with the standard provided for in Annex C of the Administrative Instructions. If a designated Office finds that a sequence listing does not comply with the prescribed standard and/or does not contain language-dependent free text in a language accepted by the Office, it may invite the applicant to furnish a listing or a translation complying with those requirements (refer to National Chapters).
LIMITATIONS ON INTERNATIONAL SEARCH
7.013. May the International Searching Authority refuse to search certain subject matter?
Article 17(2)(a)(i), Article 17(2)(b), Rule 13ter.1(d), Rule 39.1
The International Searching Authority is not required to perform an international search on claims which relate to any of the following subject matter:
(i) scientific and mathematical theories,
(ii) plant or animal varieties or essentially biological processes for the production of plants and animals, other than microbiological processes and the products of such processes,
(iii) schemes, Rules or methods of doing business, performing purely mental acts or playing games,
(iv) methods for treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy, as well as diagnostic methods,
(v) mere presentation of information, and
(vi) computer programs to the extent that the Authority is not equipped to search prior art concerning such programs.
However, certain International Searching Authorities do, in practice, search these fields to varying extents – for example, several International Searching Authorities search subject matter which is normally searched under the national (or regional) procedure (for details, refer to Annex D). In addition, the International Searching Authority is not required to search the international application, to the extent that a meaningful search cannot be carried out, in certain cases where a sequence listing is not furnished in accordance with the prescribed standard or is not available to it in an accepted language (refer to paragraphs 7.005 to 7.012). If the International Searching Authority is not required to search any of the claims, it may declare that it will not establish an international search report. It should, nevertheless, be noted that the lack of an international search report in such a case does not, in itself, have any influence on the validity of the international application, the processing of which, including its communication to the designated Offices, continues. In respect of the possibility for the International Searching Authority to limit its competence, refer to paragraph 7.002.
7.014. May the International Searching Authority refuse to search international applications which are unclear or have other defects?
Article 17(2)(a)(ii), Article 17(2)(b), Rule 6.4(a)
If the International Searching Authority considers that the description, the claims or the drawings fail to comply with the prescribed requirements to such an extent that a meaningful search cannot be carried out, it may declare that it will not establish a search report (such a declaration may also be made in respect of some of the claims only). This may in particular occur where the description or the claims are unclear. The lack of an international search report does not, of itself, have any influence on the validity of the international application, the processing of which, including its communication to the designated Offices, continues. Where only some of the claims are found to be “unsearchable, ” the International Searching Authority will not search them but will search the rest of the international application; as a result, it will then establish a partial search report in relation to the searched claims. This partial search report also contains a declaration under Article 17(2)(b) that certain claims were found unsearchable. The same may apply in the case of multiple dependent claims which do not comply with the manner of drafting provided for in the second and third sentences of Rule 6.4(a) (refer to paragraph 5.113).
UNITY OF INVENTION
7.015. What is the purpose of the requirement of “unity of invention”?
Article 17(3)(a), Rule 13
The search fee (refer to paragraph 5.184(ii) and Annex D) is intended to compensate the International Searching Authority for carrying out an international search on the international application, but only where the international application meets the requirement of “unity of invention.” That means that the international application must relate to only one invention or must relate to a group of inventions which are so linked as to form a single general inventive concept. The requirement of unity of invention is explained in detail in paragraphs 5.114 to 5.123.
7.016. What happens where the International Searching Authority considers that the international application does not meet the requirement of unity of invention?
Article 17(3)(a), Rule 13, Rule 40.1, Rule 40.2(a), Rule 40.2(b), Rule 40.2(e)
If the International Searching Authority finds that the international application does not meet the requirement of unity of invention, it invites the applicant to pay additional fees, specifying the reasons for its finding and indicating the number of additional fees to be paid. The invitation will also invite the applicant to pay, where applicable, and will indicate the amount of, the protest fee as referred to in Rule 40.2(e). Such additional fees are payable directly to the International Searching Authority within one month from the date of the invitation. Annex D indicates the amount of the additional search fee per additional invention charged by each International Searching Authority.
7.017
When the International Searching Authority invites the applicant to pay additional fees, it may annex to the invitation the results of a partial international search limited to the invention first mentioned in the claims (the relevant claims are identified in the invitation). The results of such a partial search will be included in the international search report when it is established, together with the results of the search of any further invention for which the applicant pays additional fees within the time limit fixed in the invitation.
7.018
Article 17(3)(a), Rule 13
The International Searching Authority establishes the international search report in any case on those parts of the international application which relate to the “main invention, ” that is, the invention - or group of inventions so linked as to form a single general inventive concept - first mentioned in the claims. Moreover, the International Searching Authority establishes the international search report also on those parts of the international application which relate to any invention - or any group of inventions so linked as to form a single general inventive concept - in respect of which the applicant has paid the additional fee within the time limit fixed in the invitation.
7.019. May the applicant protest against payment of the additional fees?
Rule 40.2(c), Rule 40.2(d)
Yes, any applicant may pay the additional fee under protest, that is, accompanied by a reasoned statement to the effect that the international application complies with the requirement of unity of invention or that the number of the required additional fees is excessive. Any such protest is examined by a review body constituted in the framework of the International Searching Authority, and a decision is taken on it. To the extent that the applicant’s protest is found to be justified, the additional fee is totally or partly reimbursed. At the request of the applicant, the texts of both the protest and the decision on it are notified to the designated Offices together with the international search report.
7.020
Rule 40.1, Rule 40.2(e)
Where the applicant pays additional fees under protest, the International Searching Authority may also require the applicant to pay a fee for the examination of the protest (“protest fee”). Details of the protest fee, if any, charged by the International Searching Authorities appear in Annex D. Where the applicant has not, within one month from the date of the invitation to pay additional fees, paid any required protest fee, the protest shall be considered not to have been made and the International Searching Authority shall so declare.
7.021. What happens if the applicant does not pay the additional fees as invited?
Article 17(3)(b)
Where, within the prescribed time limit, the applicant does not pay all the additional fees indicated by the International Searching Authority, but pays only some of them, or does not pay any additional fee at all, certain parts of the international application are not searched by that Authority. The lack of an international search report in respect of those parts of the international application does not, of itself, have any influence on the validity of the international application, the processing of which, including its communication to the designated Offices, continues in respect of all claims. Nevertheless, the national law of any designated State may provide that such unsearched parts of the international application will be considered withdrawn as far as that State is concerned unless a special fee is paid by the applicant to its national Office. There are only a few Offices which apply such provisions. Details of special fees are given in the respective National Chapters.
TITLE AND ABSTRACT
7.022. What happens if the International Searching Authority finds that the title of the invention or the abstract is missing or defective?
Rule 37, Rule 38, Rule 44.2
In such cases, and in certain circumstances, it is the International Searching Authority which eventually establishes an appropriate title or abstract. For details, refer to Rules 37, 38 and 44.2, and paragraph 5.173.
INTERNATIONAL SEARCH REPORT
7.023. When must the international search report be established?
Article 18(1), Rule 42
The international search report must be established within three months from the receipt of the search copy by the International Searching Authority (refer to paragraph 6.059) or nine months from the priority date, whichever time limit expires later.
7.024. What are the contents of the international search report?
Rule 43
The international search report contains, among other things, the citation of the documents considered relevant, the classification of the subject matter of the invention (according to the International Patent Classification) and an indication of the fields searched (those fields being identified by a reference to their classification) as well as any electronic data base searched (including, where practicable, the search terms used). Citations of particular relevance must be indicated specially. Citations which are not relevant to all the claims must be indicated in relation to the claim or claims to which they are relevant. If only certain passages of the document cited are relevant or particularly relevant, they must be identified, for example by an indication of the page on which, or the column or lines in which, the passage appears. It is important to note that an international search report must not contain any expression of opinion, reasoning, argument or explanation of any kind whatsoever. For full details, refer to Rule 43.
7.025. How do the applicant and the International Bureau receive the international search report?
Article 18(2), Rule 44.1
The International Searching Authority transmits, on the same day, one copy of the international search report (or, where none is established, a declaration to that effect - refer to paragraphs 7.013 and 7.014) and the written opinion established by it to the applicant and to the International Bureau. The latter publishes the international search report with the published international application (refer to paragraph 9.015) and sends a copy to the designated Offices.
7.025A. May the applicant respond to the international search report?
The Regulations do not specifically provide for an opportunity for the applicant to respond to the international search report, except that after receipt of the report, the applicant is entitled, under Article 19, to one opportunity to amend the claims of the international application (refer to paragraphs 9.004 to 9.011). For the possibility to respond to the written opinion of the International Searching Authority, refer to paragraph 7.030.
7.026. How can the applicant obtain copies of the documents cited in the international search report?
Article 20(3), Rule 44.3
The applicant can obtain copies of the documents cited in the international search report by requesting them from the International Searching Authority. Certain International Searching Authorities, however, transmit such copies automatically without extra charge to the applicant, together with the international search report. Annex D indicates those International Searching Authorities and indicates for the other Authorities the fees charged for furnishing copies on request.
WRITTEN OPINION OF THE INTERNATIONAL SEARCHING AUTHORITY
7.027. What is the written opinion of the International Searching Authority?
Rule 43bis.1(a)
The International Searching Authority will establish, at the same time that it establishes the international search report or the declaration referred to in Article 17(2)(a), a preliminary and nonbinding written opinion on the questions whether the claimed invention appears to be novel, to involve an inventive step and to be industrially applicable, very similar in scope to the written opinion established by the International Preliminary Examining Authority during international preliminary examination.
7.028
Rule 44.1
The relevant date for determining prior art for the purposes of establishing the written opinion is the international filing date or, where priority of an earlier application is claimed, the priority date - this date is different from that used in establishing the international search report but is consistent with the date used in international preliminary examination. The written opinion of the International Searching Authority is established in the language in which the international search report is established, and is communicated to the applicant and to the International Bureau together with the international search report or the declaration referred to inArticle 17(2)(a) (refer to paragraph 7.025). The written opinion, unless it is not yet available to the International Bureau, is also made publicly available on PATENTSCOPE on the same day that the international application is published.
7.029. When must the written opinion be established?
Article 18(1), Rule 42
The International Searching Authority must, as a rule, establish the international search report and the written opinion within three months from the receipt of the search copy sent to it by the receiving Office or within nine months from the priority date, whichever time limit expires later.
7.030. May the applicant respond to the written opinion of the International Searching Authority?
Even though no special provisions are included in the Regulations providing for the applicant to comment on the written opinion of the International Searching Authority, in accordance with the decision of the PCT Assembly, applicants may submit comments on an informal basis to the International Bureau. The purpose of such informal comments is to give the applicant an opportunity to rebut the written opinion of the International Searching Authority in the event that international preliminary examination is not requested. There is no maximum word count for informal comments. When submitting informal comments to the International Bureau, they should be clearly identified as such. Informal comments will be made publicly available on PATENTSCOPE as from the date of international publication. It is recommended to submit informal comments before the expiration of 28 months from the priority date, so that they will be available to designated Offices upon entry into the national phase. Any informal comments received after 30 months from the priority date will only be kept in the file of the International Bureau and not be transmitted to the designated Offices. As far as the language of the informal comments is concerned, it is the practice of the International Bureau to accept and communicate to designated Offices informal comments in any language. Any formal response to the written opinion of the International Searching Authority must be submitted directly to the International Preliminary Examining Authority under Article 34 as part of the procedure under Chapter II. If a demand is filed, informal comments submitted under Chapter I will not be forwarded to the designated Offices, however they will still be made available to the public on PATENTSCOPE.
7.031. What is the relationship between the written opinion of the International Searching Authority and the international preliminary report on patentability (IPRP) (Chapter I)?
Rule 44bis
If no international preliminary examination report has been or will be established, the written opinion of the International Searching Authority will form the basis for the issuance by the International Bureau, on behalf of the International Searching Authority, of the international preliminary report on patentability (IPRP) (Chapter I) which will be communicated to all designated Offices, together with any informal comments submitted by the applicant. The international preliminary report on patentability (Chapter I) is made available on PATENTSCOPE for public inspection after the expiration of 30 months from the priority date.
7.032
Rule 43bis.1(c), Rule 66.1bis
If a demand for international preliminary examination is filed in respect of an international application, the written opinion which has been established by the International Searching Authority will, in general, be used by the International Preliminary Examining Authority as its own first written opinion, unless the International Preliminary Examining Authority notifies the International Bureau to the contrary.

CHAPTER 8: SUPPLEMENTARY INTERNATIONAL SEARCH

GENERAL
8.001. What is supplementary international search?
Rule 45bis
Supplementary international search permits the applicant to request, in addition to the international search carried out under Article 15(1) (the “main international search”, as explained in Chapter 7), one or more supplementary international searches each to be carried out by an International Authority (the “Authority specified for supplementary search”) other than the International Searching Authority that carries out the main international search.
8.002. What are the benefits of supplementary international search for the applicant?
Requesting supplementary international search reduces the risk of new prior art being cited in the national phase. The increasing diversity of prior art in different languages and different technical fields means that the Authority carrying out the main international search is not always capable of discovering all of the relevant prior art. Requesting one or more supplementary international searches, during this early phase of the patent prosecution, expands both the linguistic and technical scope of the search. In addition, it may also be possible to have the supplementary search carried out in a State where they are likely to enter the national phase later on.
8.003. Which authorities can be requested to carry out a supplementary international search?
Rule 45bis.1(e), Rule 45bis.9(b)
Only an International Searching Authority that has stated its preparedness to carry out supplementary international searches (refer to Annex SISA), and which is not the International Searching Authority that carried out the main international search, can be requested to carry out a supplementary international search.
8.004. Does each Authority offer the same supplementary international search service?
Rule 45bis.9(a), Rule 45bis.9(c)
The Authorities prepared to offer supplementary international searches may specify any limitations and conditions on this service in their agreement with the International Bureau (refer to https://www.wipo.int/pct/en/access/isa_ipea_agreements.html). These limitations may include limitations as to the subject matter for which supplementary searches will be carried out, beyond those limitations that can be evoked in respect of the main international search (refer to paragraphs 7.013 and 7.014), and limitations as to the total number of supplementary international searches which will be carried out in a given period (refer to Annex SISA).
8.005. When should the request for a supplementary search be filed?
Rule 45bis.1(a), Rule 45bis.1(e)(i)
In many cases, requests for supplementary search will be filed once the applicant has received the main international search report. In any event, the applicant must file a request for a supplementary international search prior to the expiration of 22 months from the priority date. If the request is received after the expiration of this time limit, it will be considered not to have been submitted and there are no provisions to extend this time limit.
SUPPLEMENTARY SEARCH REQUEST
8.006. How should a supplementary search request be filed?
Rule 45bis.1(b), Section 102(f), Section 102(g)
To facilitate preparation of the supplementary search request, the International Bureau has made available Form PCT/IB/375 “Supplementary Search Request” in editable PDF format on WIPO’s website (instructions on how to complete and save the editable form are also available at: https://www.wipo.int/pct/en/forms/instructions.html). This form should be completed in accordance with indications in the Notes attached to the form. While use of this form is optional, it is highly recommended. It is further recommended to submit the form to the International Bureau through ePCT.
8.007. Can I submit more than one request for supplementary international search?
Rule 45bis.1(a)
If the applicant wishes more than one supplementary international search to be carried out, a separate request, preferably using Form PCT/IB/375, should be submitted for each supplementary international search requested.
8.008. Where should a supplementary search request be filed?
Rule 45bis.1(b), Rule 45bis.4(e)
A supplementary search request must be filed with the International Bureau and not with the Authority specified for supplementary search. The International Bureau will transmit the request to the Authority specified for supplementary search once it has verified that all formal requirements have been complied with.
8.009. In which language should the supplementary search request be filed?
Rule 92.2(d), Section 104
The supplementary search request should be filed in either English or French.
8.010. What is the language of correspondence with the International Bureau in connection with supplementary international search?
Rule 92.2(d), Section 104
Any correspondence between the applicant and the International Bureau should be in English or French, at the choice of the applicant, provided that it is in the same language as the international application – if the international application was filed in English or French. However, communications from the applicant to the International Bureau via ePCT may also be in the language of publication of the international application.
8.011. How should the Authority specified for supplementary search be identified?
Rule 45bis.1(b)(ii)
The Authority specified for supplementary search should be identified, by an indication of the name or two-letter code of the Authority at the top of the first sheet of the supplementary search request form (PCT/IB/375).
8.012. Which documents, other than the supplementary search request must be submitted?
Rule 13ter.1, Rule 45bis.1(c)
Where neither the language in which the international application was filed, nor the language in which a translation (if any) has been furnished for the purposes of main international search or international publication, is accepted by the Authority specified for supplementary search, a translation of the international application into a language which is accepted by that Authority must be submitted together with the request. Where the international application contains disclosure of one or more nucleotide and/or amino acid sequences required to be included in a sequence listing pursuant to Annex C of the Administrative Instructions, the applicant, if so required, should furnish a copy of the sequence listing (complying with the prescribed standard in a language accepted by that Authority) to the International Bureau together with the supplementary search request.
Box No. I: Identification of the International Application
8.013. How should the international application be identified when I file a request for international supplementary search?
Rule 45bis.1(b)(i), Section 109, Section 110
The applicant should clearly identify the international application by its international application number, international filing date (for the date format, refer to paragraph 5.061) and title, as provided for in Box No. I. If a new title has been established by the International Searching Authority, that title should be indicated.
8.014
Where the international application claims the priority of several earlier applications, the filing date of the earliest application whose priority is claimed should be indicated as the priority date. A file reference not exceeding 25 characters may also be indicated, if desired by the applicant (refer to paragraph 5.017).
Box No. II: Applicant
8.015. How should the applicant be identified?
Rule 45bis.1(b)(i)
The applicant should be identified by the indications of his/her name and address in Box No. II. The requirements for these indications are the same as those for the request form (PCT/RO/101) (refer to paragraphs 5.025 to 5.034).
8.016
Where there are two or more applicants, only one needs to be indicated for the purposes of requesting supplementary search. It is recommended that the applicant who will represent all the applicants, and to whom notifications are to be sent, be indicated. If an agent or a common representative is indicated in Box No. III of the request, notices will be sent to that agent or common representative (also refer to paragraphs 11.015 to 11.017).
8.017. How can the applicant receive notifications via e-mail?
Rule 4.4(c)
If an e-mail address is indicated in Box No. II of the supplementary search request form, the International Bureau, and the Authority specified for supplementary search (if it provides such a service), will send notifications in respect of the international application to the applicant by e-mail, thus avoiding processing or postal delays. In this case, no paper notifications will usually be sent by postal mail, unless the Authority specified for supplementary search is willing to additionally send such paper notifications. Where the agent or common representative has also provided an e-mail address, e-mail notifications will only be sent to the appointed agent or common representative (refer to paragraph 8.018). Note that not all Authorities will send such notifications by e-mail (refer to Annex B). If no e-mail address is provided, or if the applicant chooses to receive notifications exclusively by postal mail, by marking the corresponding check-box in Box No. II, or in the cases where the Authority specified for supplementary search does not provide for sending notifications by e-mail, notifications will be sent to the given mailing address exclusively by postal mail. It is the applicant’s responsibility to keep any e-mail address details up-to-date and to ensure that incoming e-mails are not blocked, for any reason, on the recipient’s side. Changes to the e-mail address indicated should be requested to be recorded, preferably directly at the International Bureau, under Rule 92bis.
Box No. III: Agent or Common Representative
8.018. How is an agent appointed for the purposes of the procedure before the Authority specified for supplementary search?
Rule 45bis.1(b)(i), Rule 90.1, Rule 90.2, Rule 90.4, Rule 90.5
The appointment of an agent to represent the applicant for the purposes of all procedures during the international phase, including the procedure before the Authority specified for supplementary search, may be made in Box No. IV of the request form (PCT/RO/101) or in a separate power of attorney submitted to the receiving Office (also refer to paragraphs 5.041 to 5.046 and 11.001 to 11.014).
8.019. Can I appoint an agent specifically for the procedures before the Authority specified for supplementary search?
Where, however, an agent is to be appointed specifically for the purposes of the procedure before the Authority specified for supplementary search, this should be indicated in Box No. III of the supplementary search request form and the form signed by the applicant.
8.020
The appointment of an agent may also be made in a separate power of attorney signed by the applicant. The indications in Box No. III or in a separate power of attorney must include the name and address of the agent (refer to paragraphs 5.025 to 5.029). It is recommended that the agent’s telephone number, facsimile number and/or e-mail address also be indicated. It is also recommended that where an agent is registered with the Office, that is acting as the Authority specified for supplementary search, the number or other indication under which the agent is so registered should be included. Model powers of attorney are available in editable PDF format on the WIPO website. Any separate power of attorney must be submitted to the Authority specified for supplementary search if the appointment was made specifically for the purposes of the procedure before that Authority. Where a general power of attorney authorizes an agent to represent the applicant before the Office, which acts as the Authority specified for supplementary search, and the appointment was made specifically for the purposes of the procedure before that Authority, the general power of attorney must be deposited with the said Authority. The Authority specified for supplementary search may waive the requirement that a separate power of attorney or a copy of the general power of attorney be submitted to it (refer to Annex SISA).
8.021. How can an agent receive notifications via e-mail?
Rule 4.4(c)
If an e-mail address is indicated in Box No. III, the International Bureau, and the Authority specified for supplementary search (if it provides such a service), will send notifications to the agent or common representative at the indicated e-mail address, thus avoiding processing or postal delays (refer to paragraph 8.017). In this case, no paper notifications will usually be sent by postal mail, unless the Authority specified for supplementary search is willing to additionally send such paper notifications. If no e-mail address is provided, or if the agent or common representative chooses to receive notifications exclusively by postal mail, by marking the corresponding check-box in Box No. III, or in the cases where the Authority specified for supplementary search does not provide for sending notifications by e-mail, notifications will be sent to the given mailing address exclusively by postal mail.
8.022. What is the address for correspondence?
Section 108
Where an agent is appointed specifically for the purposes of the procedure before the Authority specified for supplementary search, all notifications issued by that Authority will be addressed only to that agent. Otherwise, correspondence will be sent to the agent appointed previously or to the common representative, as the case may be. However, where no agent or common representative is appointed and the applicant wishes correspondence to be sent to a different address other than that indicated in Box No. II, the applicant may indicate that address in Box No. III. In such cases, the last check-box of Box No. III must be marked. However, the last check-box must not be marked if either of the check-boxes “agent” or “common representative” in Box No. III has been marked.
Box No. IV: Basis for Supplementary International Search
8.023. Where should the language, for the purposes of supplementary international search, be indicated?
Rule 45bis.1(b)(iii)
The applicant should indicate the language, for the purposes of supplementary international search, in Box No. IV and whether that language is that of the international application as originally filed, or of any translation furnished to the receiving Office under Rule 12.3 or 12.4. Where neither the language in which the international application was filed, nor the language in which a translation (if any) has been furnished under Rule 12.3 or 12.4, is accepted by the Authority specified for supplementary search, a translation of the international application, into a language accepted by that Authority, must be furnished together with the request. In such cases, the last check-box concerning language should be marked. Where more than one of the above applies, the applicant may indicate which language version is to form the basis of the supplementary international search, by marking the corresponding check-box.
8.024. When and how may the applicant select certain inventions to be searched?
Rule 45bis.1(d), Rule 45bis.5(d)
Where the International Searching Authority has found that the international application does not comply with the requirement of unity of invention, the applicant may choose, among the several inventions, which invention he/she wishes to be searched by the Authority specified for supplementary search. If the applicant wishes to limit the supplementary international search to an invention, other than the main invention referred to in Article 17(3)(a), he/she may indicate this wish by marking the last check-box in Box No. IV of the supplementary search request form, and state the corresponding numbers of the claims relating to this invention in the space provided. Where the international search report is available to the Authority specified for supplementary search before it starts the supplementary international search, it may, however, exclude from the search any claims which were not the subject of the main international search.
Box No. V: Check List
8.025. What is the purpose of the check list?
Box No. V should be completed by the applicant to allow the International Bureau to verify the completeness of the documents accompanying the supplementary search request and, in particular, to check whether a translation of the international application and a sequence listing, where indicated in the respective check-boxes, are actually received.
Box No. VI: Signature of Applicant, Agent or Common Representative
8.026. Who must sign the supplementary search request?
Rule 90.3(a), Rule 92.1
The supplementary search request must be signed by one of the applicants or by the appointed agent. It should be noted, however, that additional signatures may be required for withdrawal of the supplementary search request (refer to paragraphs 11.048 to 11.061).
Notes to the Supplementary Search Request Form
8.027. What are the Notes to the supplementary search request form?
The Notes to the supplementary search request form are intended to facilitate the completion of that form. They outline, in relation to each Box of that form, what indications are required and how they are to be made. The Notes are not required to be submitted with the supplementary search request.
Fee Calculation Sheet
8.028. What is the fee calculation sheet?
The fee calculation sheet is intended to help the applicant calculate the total amount of fees payable to the International Bureau. The sheet is usually annexed to the supplementary search request form (refer to 8.006). It is strongly recommended that the applicant complete the fee calculation sheet and submit it to the International Bureau. This will help the International Bureau to verify the fee calculations and identify any errors. The Notes to the fee calculation sheet provide details about completion of the sheet. For more information about the payment of fees generally, refer to paragraphs 5.184 to 5.199.
FEES
8.029. Which fees must be paid by the applicant?
Rule 45bis.2(a), Rule 45bis.3(a)
Two fees must be paid for supplementary international search: (i) the supplementary search fee for the benefit of the Authority specified for supplementary search; and (ii) the supplementary search handling fee for the benefit of the International Bureau. The supplementary search fee charged by each Authority varies and is fixed by the Authority in its agreement with the International Bureau (refer to https://www.wipo.int/pct/en/access/isa_ipea_agreements.html and Annex SISA). The supplementary search handling fee is fixed by the PCT Assembly and listed in the Schedule of Fees annexed to the PCT Regulations.
8.029A. Is any fee reduction available?
An applicant is entitled, in accordance with the Schedule of Fees, item 5, to a reduction of 90% of the supplementary search handling fee if he/she is a natural person and a national of and resides in a State that is listed as being a State whose per capita gross domestic product is below 25,000 US dollars (according to the most recent 10-year average per capita gross domestic product figures at constant 2005 US dollars values published by the United Nations), and whose nationals and residents who are natural persons have filed less than 10 international applications per year (per million population) or less than 50 international applications per year (in absolute numbers) according to the most recent 5-year average yearly filing figures published by the International Bureau or if he/she is, whether a natural person or not, a national of and resides in a State that is listed as being classified by the United Nations as a least developed country. (For a list of States whose nationals and residents are eligible for the fee reduction, refer to https://www.wipo.int/pct/en/docs/fee-reduction-january.pdf). If there are several applicants, each must satisfy one or the other of the above-mentioned criteria. However, it should be noted that an applicant is only entitled to the reduction if, at the time of filing the supplementary search request, the applicant is the true and only owner of the application and under no obligation to assign, grant, convey or license the rights in the invention to another party which is not eligible for the fee reduction. If the applicant is, or all applicants are, entitled to the reduction of the supplementary search handling fee, this reduction applies on the basis of the indications of name, nationality and residence given in Box No. II of the supplementary search request, without the need for a specific request to be made.
8.030. When must the applicable fees be paid?
Rule 45bis.2(b), Rule 45bis.2(c), Rule 45bis.3(b), Rule 45bis.3(c), Rule 45bis.4(c), Rule 45bis.4(d)
Both the supplementary search fee and the supplementary search handling fee must be paid to the International Bureau within one month from the date of receipt of the supplementary search request. If they are not paid in full within that time limit, a late payment fee will become due (refer to Form PCT/IB/377). If the fees remain unpaid, the International Bureau will consider the request not to have been submitted.
8.031. In which currencies may fees for supplementary international search be paid?
Payment of fees will only be accepted in Swiss francs. The amount payable is the amount applicable on the date of payment.
8.032. Can fees already paid be refunded in some circumstances?
Rule 45bis.2(d), Rule 45bis.3(d), Rule 45bis.3(e)
If, before the International Bureau has transmitted the relevant documents to the Authority specified for supplementary search, the international application is withdrawn or considered withdrawn, or the supplementary search request is withdrawn or considered not to have been submitted, the International Bureau will refund both the supplementary search fee and the supplementary search handling fee to the applicant. If, before the Authority specified for supplementary search has started the search, the supplementary search request is considered not to have been submitted, that Authority will refund the supplementary search fee to the applicant in accordance with its agreement with the International Bureau (refer to paragraph 8.029).
PROCESSING OF THE SUPPLEMENTARY SEARCH REQUEST BY THE INTERNATIONAL BUREAU
8.033. What does the International Bureau check upon receipt of the supplementary search request?
Rule 45bis.1(e)
Following receipt of the supplementary search request, the International Bureau will check whether the request was received within the prescribed time limit, that is, before the expiration of 22 months from the priority date. It will verify whether the Authority specified is competent to carry out the search, that is, an International Authority which is prepared to offer supplementary international searches and which is not the International Searching Authority that carried out the main international search. If these requirements have not been complied with, it will declare the supplementary search request not to have been submitted, and will notify the applicant accordingly using Form PCT/IB/379 (also refer to paragraphs 8.003 to 8.005).
8.034. What happens if there are other defects in the supplementary search request?
Rule 45bis.4(a)
The International Bureau will then check whether the supplementary search request has clearly indicated the name and address of at least one applicant and of the agent (if any), the title of the invention, the international filing date and the international application number. It will also verify whether a translation of the international application is needed to carry out the supplementary international search, and where necessary, whether that translation has been furnished. If any of these requirements have not been complied with, it will invite the applicant to correct these defects within one month from the date of the invitation using Form PCT/IB/378 (also refer to paragraphs 8.013 to 8.016, 8.018 to 8.020, and 8.023).
8.035. What happens if the fees are not paid or not paid in full?
Rule 45bis.4(b), Rule 45bis.4(c)
The International Bureau will also check whether the supplementary search fee and the supplementary search handling fee have been paid in full. If not, and the one month time limit has not expired, it will invite the applicant to pay the amount required to cover those fees using Form PCT/IB/376. If the one month time limit has already expired, the International Bureau will issue Form PCT/IB/377, inviting the applicant to pay the amount required together with a late payment fee equal to 50% of the supplementary search handling fee, within one month from the date of the invitation (refer also to paragraphs 8.029 and 8.030).
8.036
Rule 45bis.4(d)
If the applicant fails to correct these defects, or does not pay the fees in full, before the expiration of the respective time limit, the supplementary search request will be considered not to have been submitted, and the International Bureau will make a declaration to this effect and notify the applicant accordingly using Form PCT/IB/379.
8.037. When will the International Bureau transmit the relevant documents to the Authority specified for supplementary search?
Rule 45bis.4(e)
Once the International Bureau finds that all of the preceding requirements (refer to paragraphs 8.033 to 8.035) have been complied with, it will transmit the relevant documents (refer to paragraph 8.038) to the Authority specified for supplementary search, promptly after it receives the international search report, or after the expiration of 17 months from the priority date, whichever occurs first. If some documents are still not available to it at the above time, it will promptly transmit them once they are available.
8.038. Which documents are transmitted by the International Bureau to the Authority specified for supplementary search?
Rule 45bis.4(e), Rule 45bis.4(f)
The International Bureau will transmit to the Authority specified for supplementary search a copy of each of the following, where applicable:
(i) the supplementary search request,
(ii) the international application,
(iii) any sequence listing furnished therewith,
(iv) any translation furnished which is to be used as the basis for the supplementary international search,
(v) the international search report and the written opinion (including an English translation),
(vi) any invitation by the International Searching Authority to pay additional fees concerning unity of invention, and
(vii) any protest by the applicant against the opinion of the International Searching Authority concerning unity of invention, and the decision thereon by the same Authority.
SUPPLEMENTARY INTERNATIONAL SEARCH PROCEDURE
8.039. When will the Authority start work on the supplementary international search?
Rule 45bis.5(a)
On receipt of the relevant documents from the International Bureau, the Authority specified for supplementary search should promptly begin its work (refer to paragraph 8.037). However, if on receipt of the relevant documents, the international search report and written opinion are not yet available, the Authority may postpone the start of the search until it receives these documents. Work on the supplementary international search must, however, commence promptly after the expiration of 22 months from the priority date, regardless of the lateness of the international search report and written opinion. The absence of those documents will be noted on the international search report.
8.040. Which documents may the applicant submit directly to the Authority specified for supplementary search?
Rule 13ter.1, Rule 45bis.4(e), Rule 45bis.5(c)
The applicant should furnish all the required documents to the International Bureau with the supplementary search request (refer to paragraph 8.012), and the International Bureau will transmit these, together with all other relevant documents, to the Authority specified for supplementary search (refer to paragraph 8.038). Any amendments filed under Article 19 or 34 will not be taken into account. If, however, the applicant did not submit a copy of the sequence listing complying with the prescribed standard in a language accepted by that Authority to the International Bureau, together with the request for supplementary search (refer to paragraph 8.012), the applicant will be invited by the Authority specified for supplementary search to submit such a copy to the said Authority. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in that Authority only carrying out the supplementary international search to the extent that a meaningful search can be carried out without the sequence listing (refer also to paragraphs 7.005 to 7.012 for more relevant information).
8.041. What are the consequences if the Authority finds that carrying out the supplementary international search is excluded by a limitation or condition?
Rule 45bis.5(g), Rule 45bis.5(h), Rule 45bis.9
If the Authority specified for supplementary search finds that carrying out the search is entirely excluded by a limitation or condition set out in its Agreement with the International Bureau (refer to https://www.wipo.int/pct/en/access/isa_ipea_agreements.html), other than a limitation under Article 17(2), it will declare that the supplementary search request be considered not to have been submitted, and promptly notify the applicant and the International Bureau accordingly. If, however, the Authority finds that carrying out the search is not entirely excluded, it may restrict the search to certain claims only and will indicate this fact in the supplementary international search report.
8.042. May the Authority refuse to search certain claims?
Article 17(2)(a), Rule 45bis.5
In certain circumstances the Authority is not obliged to conduct a supplementary search on some or all of the claims in the international application. These include subject matter that the Authority would not search in a main international search and claims which have not been searched by the main searching Authority. If the Authority specified for supplementary search finds that it is not obliged to search any of the claims, it will declare that no supplementary international search report will be established (refer to paragraph 8.048) and promptly notify the applicant and the International Bureau accordingly.
8.043. What is the scope of the supplementary international search?
Rule 45bis.5(f)
The supplementary international search shall cover at least the documentation indicated for that purpose in the Agreement between the International Authority acting as the Authority specified for supplementary search and the International Bureau (refer to https://www.wipo.int/pct/en/access/isa_ipea_agreements.html). For some Authorities this may comprise all PCT documentation plus other patent and technical documents held by that Authority, while others will focus specifically on documentation in certain languages (refer to Annex SISA).
8.044. What will happen where the main International Searching Authority finds that the international application does not comply with the requirement of unity of invention?
Rule 13, Rule 45bis.5(e)
If the main International Searching Authority finds that the international application does not comply with the requirement of unity of invention and the applicant did not pay any additional search fees, the Authority specified for supplementary search is not obliged to carry out any supplementary search on claims which have not been searched by the main International Searching Authority. The requirements for unity of invention are set out in detail in paragraphs 5.114 to 5.123. The Authority specified for supplementary search is not, however, obliged to agree with the main International Searching Authority and may make its own finding on unity of invention.
8.045. What will happen where the Authority specified for supplementary search considers that the international application does not comply with the requirement of unity of invention?
Rule 45bis.6(a), Rule 45bis.6(c)
If the Authority specified for supplementary search finds that the international application does not comply with the requirement of unity of invention (the requirements for unity of invention are set out in detail in paragraphs 5.114 to 5.123) it will not invite the applicant to pay additional fees, as the International Searching Authority does in the main international search. Instead, it will establish the supplementary international search report on those parts of the international application that relate to the invention first mentioned in the claims (“main invention”), and notify the applicant of its opinion that the international application does not comply with the requirement of unity of invention and specify the reasons for that opinion. The applicant may, within one month from the date of the notification, request the Authority to review its opinion, subject to the payment of any review fee (refer to Annex SISA). The review fee will be refunded in full where the opinion is found to be unjustified (refer to paragraph 8.046), and a revised supplementary international search report will be issued, where appropriate.
8.046. What will happen when the applicant requests a review of the opinion of the Authority on unity of invention?
Rule 45bis.6(d), Rule 45bis.6(e)
If the applicant requests a review of the opinion of the Authority specified for supplementary search that the international application does not comply with the requirement of unity of invention and pays any required review fee, the Authority will review its opinion on unity of invention. The review may not be carried out only by the person who made the decision which is the subject of the review. The result of the review will be notified to the applicant. If the opinion is found to be entirely unjustified, the Authority will establish the supplementary international search report on all parts of the international application and refund the review fee to the applicant. If the opinion is found to be partially unjustified, and the Authority still considers that the international application does not comply with the requirement of unity of invention, it will establish a corrected supplementary international search report where necessary. Independent of the review, the applicant may always request that the text of both the request for review and the decision thereon be communicated to the designated Offices together with the supplementary international search report.
8.047. When is the supplementary international search report established?
Rule 45bis.7(a)
The supplementary international search report must be established within 28 months from the priority date using Form PCT/SISA/501.
8.048. What happens when the Authority specified for supplementary search declares that no supplementary international search report will be established?
Rule 45bis.7(a)
A declaration that no supplementary international search report will be established must be made within 28 months from the priority date using Form PCT/SISA/502 (refer to paragraphs 8.003 and 8.004).
8.049. What does the supplementary international search report contain?
Rule 45bis.7(d), Rule 45bis.7 (e)
The supplementary international search report is generally similar in contents and appearance to the main international search report (refer to paragraph 7.024). It does not, however, contain comments on the title of the invention or the abstract, nor does it contain the classification of the subject matter. Further, it does not repeat relevant prior art documents which have already been cited in the international search report, unless this is necessary because of new relevance when read in conjunction with other documents discovered during the supplementary international search. On occasion, the supplementary international search report may contain more detailed explanations concerning citations of documents than those in the main international search report. This is due to the fact that, unlike the main international search, no written opinion is established with the supplementary international search report, and these additional details are helpful for a full understanding of the prior art. Furthermore, it may contain additional comments on the scope of the supplementary search which has been conducted. This is of particular relevance when the supplementary search has been carried out without the benefit of the main international search report.
8.050. How can the applicant obtain copies of the documents cited in the supplementary international search report?
Article 20(3), Rule 44.3, Rule 45bis.7
Many Authorities which have stated their preparedness to carry out supplementary international search transmit such copies automatically, without extra charge to the applicant, together with the supplementary international search report. Annex SISA indicates whether an Authority charges a fee for furnishing copies of these documents.
8.051. How is the supplementary international search report transmitted?
Article 20(1), Rule 45bis.8, Rule 47.1(d)
The Authority specified for supplementary search will, on the same day, transmit one copy of the supplementary international search report (or, the declaration that no supplementary international search report will be established) to the International Bureau and one copy to the applicant. The International Bureau will include the supplementary international search report in its communication to each designated Office, as if it were part of the international search report, unless the designated Office has waived this requirement.
8.052. Is a copy of the supplementary international search report sent to the International Preliminary Examining Authority?
Rule 45bis.8(b), Rule 45bis.8(c), Section 420(b)
Where the applicant files a demand for international preliminary examination, and the International Preliminary Examining Authority is not the same Authority as that specified for supplementary search, the International Bureau will, promptly on receipt of the supplementary international search report, transmit a copy of said report to the International Preliminary Examining Authority. The report, together with the international search report, will all be taken into account by that Authority during the process of international preliminary examination. Note, however, if that Authority has already begun to draw up the international preliminary examination report, it need not take into account the supplementary international search report for the purposes of that report.
8.053. Will the supplementary international search report be published?
Article 20(3), Rule 44.3, Rule 94.1(b)
The supplementary international search report is not published per se nor as part of the international publication. Nevertheless, once the international application has been published, and the supplementary international search report has been received, it is made available for public inspection by the International Bureau on PATENTSCOPE (https://www.wipo.int/patentscope/en/).

CHAPTER 9: INTERNATIONAL PUBLICATION, AMENDMENT OF CLAIMS, AND OTHER PROCESSING OF THE INTERNATIONAL APPLICATION BY THE INTERNATIONAL BUREAU

GENERAL
9.001. What are the main procedural steps at the International Bureau?
The main procedural steps that any international application goes through at the International Bureau are the following:
Rule 22.1, Rule 24.2
(i) the International Bureau monitors the receipt of the record copy of the international application and notifies the fact, and the date of receipt, to the applicant and the authorities concerned; for details, refer to paragraph 9.002;
Article 19, Rule 46
(ii) the applicant may amend the claims of the international application under Article 19 by means of a communication addressed to the International Bureau; for details, refer to paragraphs 9.004 to 9.011;
Article 21, Rule 48
(iii) the international application is published by the International Bureau (such publication usually takes place just after the expiration of 18 months from the priority date); for details, refer to paragraphs 9.012 to 9.024;
Article 20, Rule 43bis, Rule 44, Rule 47
(iv) copies of the international application, the international search report and the written opinion of the International Searching Authority (in the form of the international preliminary report on patentability (Chapter I of the PCT; refer to (v) and (vi) below) pertaining to it are transmitted by the International Bureau to the designated Offices; for details, refer to paragraphs 9.028 and 9.029;
Rule 44bis
(v) where a preliminary examination report (international preliminary report on patentability (Chapter II of the PCT)) has not been established, the International Bureau issues an international preliminary report on patentability (Chapter I of the PCT) (refer to paragraph 7.031);
Rule 44bis.2, Rule 44bis.3
(vi) copies of that report are transmitted by the International Bureau to the applicant, and to the designated Offices in accordance with Rule 93bis, but not before the expiration of 30 months from the priority date; the International Bureau may also, if so requested by any designated State, transmit a copy of a translation into English of the international preliminary report on patentability (Chapter I of the PCT) to any interested designated Office and to the applicant at the same time as it communicates the report to that Office;
Article 36, Rule 70, Rule 71, Rule 72, Rule 73, Rule 74
(vii) where a demand for international preliminary examination has been filed, the International Bureau notifies the elected Offices, transmits the international preliminary report on patentability (Chapter II of the PCT) and related documents to them, and makes a translation of that report into English (if required by any elected Office); for further details, refer to paragraphs 10.006, 10.045, 10.078 10.079 and 10.079A.
9.002. When and to whom does the International Bureau notify its receipt of the record copy of the international application?
Rule 24.2, Rule 47.1(a-bis), Rule 93bis.1
When are designated Offices notified? How the International Bureau receives the record copy and how it monitors that receipt is explained in paragraphs 6.057 and 6.058. The record copy of the international application should normally reach the International Bureau before the expiration of 13 months from the priority date. After receiving the record copy, the International Bureau notifies the applicant, the receiving Office and the International Searching Authority (unless it has informed the International Bureau that it wishes not to be so notified) of the fact and of the date of receipt of the record copy. All those notifications are effected promptly after the International Bureau’s receipt of the record copy.
9.003. What should the applicant do when receiving the notification of receipt of the record copy?
Rule 24.2(a), Rule 53.7, Rule 90bis.2
The notification sent to the applicant (Form PCT/IB/301) contains the list of the designated Offices. This notification will allow the applicant to check whether the fact that certain designations (DE, JP and/or KR) were specifically excluded in the request, and/or any subsequent withdrawal of designations have been properly reflected. The applicant may wish to withdraw the designation of any designated State at this point, or at any time prior to the expiration of 30 months from the priority date.
AMENDMENT OF THE CLAIMS UNDER ARTICLE 19
9.004. When and how may the claims of the international application be amended in the international phase?
Article 19(1), Rule 46, Rule 49.5(a)(ii), Rule 49.5(c), Rule 49.5(c-bis)
The applicant is entitled, under Article 19, to one opportunity to amend the claims of the international application in the international phase. (Further opportunities to amend the claims, and also the description and the drawings, are available during the international phase under Article 34 if, and only if, the applicant files a demand for international preliminary examination – refer to paragraphs 9.011, 10.024 to 10.028, and 10.067 to 10.071). Any amendment to the claims, under Article 19, must be filed with the International Bureau – not with the receiving Office or the International Searching Authority. The amendments must be in the language in which the international application is published (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish – refer to paragraphs 9.017 to 9.019). The opportunity to make amendments under Article 19 is available after the applicant has received the international search report and the written opinion of the International Search Authority, and remains available until the end of 16 months from the priority date or two months after the transmittal (that is, the date of mailing) of that report and opinion, whichever expires later. Amendments received by the International Bureau after the time limit are still accepted if they have been received before the technical preparations for international publication have been completed. Amendments to the claims under Article 19 are not allowed where the International Searching Authority has declared, under Article 17(2)(a), that no international search report would be established. However, it should be noted that, where an international search report has been established but nevertheless also contains, in Box No. II, a declaration under Article 17(2)(b) that certain claims were found unsearchable, either because they relate to subject matter not required to be searched by the Authority or because they relate to parts of the international application that do not comply with the prescribed requirements to such an extent that a meaningful international search could not be carried out, amendments under Article 19 are allowed in relation to the claims that were searched (refer to paragraph 7.014). Upon entry into the national phase, if the claims have been amended under Article 19, a translation of both the claims as filed and as amended (in the form of a translation of the complete set of claims furnished under Rule 46.5(a) in replacement of all the claims originally filed) and any statement may have to be furnished to the designated/elected Offices (refer to National Chapters (Summaries)). (As to amendments in the national phase, refer to paragraphs 5.111, 5.127 and 5.162, the National Phase and National Chapters.) The submission of Article 19 amendments should comprise:
(i) a complete set of claims in replacement of the claims originally filed (refer to paragraph 9.005)
(ii) a letter which must indicate the differences between the claims as filed and those as amended plus the basis for the amendments (refer to paragraphs 9.005 to 9.006A)
(iii) an optional statement under Article 19 (refer to paragraphs 9.007 to 9.008)
9.005
Rule 6.1, Rule 46.5, Section 205
When filing amendments to the claims under Article 19, the applicant is required to file a sheet or sheets containing a complete set of claims in replacement of the claims originally filed. The replacement sheet or sheets must be accompanied by a letter drawing attention to the differences between the claims as filed and the claims as amended. It must also indicate the basis for the amendment to the claims with specific references to particular parts of the application (description, claims, drawings) as originally filed (refer to paragraph 9.006). Where an amendment results in the cancellation of an entire sheet of the international application as originally filed, the amendment (that is, the cancellation) is evidenced only by the letter addressed to the International Bureau. Amendments may consist in the cancellation of one or more entire claims, in the addition of one or more new claims, or in the amendment of the text of one or more of the claims as filed. All the claims appearing on a replacement sheet must be numbered in Arabic numerals (corresponding to the order of the claims). Where a claim is cancelled, no renumbering of the other claims is required. However, where the applicant does renumber claims, they must be renumbered consecutively.
9.006. What should the accompanying letter contain?
Rule 46.5, Section 205
The letter, which must accompany the replacement sheets containing amendments to the claims, must indicate firstly the differences between the claims as filed and those as amended and secondly the basis for the amendments in the application as filed. This should be done by stating, in connection with each claim appearing in the international application, whether:
(i) the claim is unchanged,
(ii) the claim is cancelled;
(iii) the claim is new;
(iv) the claim replaces one or more claims as filed;
(v) the claim is the result of the division of a claim as filed, etc.
The replacement sheets containing the amended claims should not, however, contain marked-up text; they should contain clean text only. This should be followed by an indication of the basis for the amendments in the application as filed. The basis for the amendments has to be indicated so that the examiner may, by consulting those precise references in the application, assess whether the amendments contain subject-matter which extends beyond the disclosure of the application as filed. Therefore, non-specific indications such as “refer to the description as filed” or “refer to the claims as filed” are generally not considered sufficient for an indication of the basis for the amendment. Example:
“Claim 1 amended; claims 2 to 7 unchanged; claims 8 and 9 amended; claims 10 to 14 cancelled; claims 15 to 17 unchanged; new claim 18 added.
(i) Basis for the amendment: Claim 1 has been amended at lines 4 and 11 to 14 and now indicates that the filter comprises a periodic backwashing means serially coupled to a first and second chamber. The basis for this amendment can be found in original claims 2 and 4 as filed.
(ii) Basis for the amendment: Concerning amended claims 8 and 9, the indication of ‘quick-fire piston’ is in paragraph Nos. 2 and 19 in the description as filed.
(iii) Basis for the amendment: Claim 18 is new, the indication is in drawing No. III of the original application.”
9.006A. What happens where the international application is not in the same language as the accompanying letter?
Rule 92.2(d)
The accompanying letter should be furnished in English or French. References may, however, be made to the international application in the language of the international application where to do so will facilitate the work of the examiner in finding the reference, for example:
(i) Basis for the amendment: Concerning amended claim 2, the indication of “請求項1に基づくパーキングアシストシステム” is in paragraph Nos. 23, 46 and 85 in the description as filed.
9.007. What is a statement accompanying an amendment?
Article 19(1), Rule 46.4, Rule 48.2(a)(vi)
Any amendment may be accompanied by a brief statement by the applicant explaining the amendment and indicating any impact it might have on the description and the drawings. Such a statement is published together with the international application itself (refer to paragraphs 9.012 to 9.024). Statements not referring to a specific amendment are not permitted. The statement must not exceed 500 words if in English or when translated into English. It may not contain disparaging comments on the international search report or on the relevance of any of the citations contained in that report. References to certain citations in the report may be made only in connection with an amendment made to a specific claim. The statement must be in the language in which the international application is published (refer to paragraphs 9.017 and 9.018).
9.008 <