Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Priority Document Access Service?
- Who can use the service?
- What are the advantages for applicants?
- What are the advantages for patent Offices?
- How are priority documents made available via the service?
- How are priority documents retrieved from the service?
- What if things go wrong?
- What if the Office of first filing or an Office of second filing does not participate in the service?
- How is confidentiality ensured?
- How are access codes issued and monitored?
- What costs are associated with the service?
- How will confidentiality be ensured taking into account national law constraints?
This service provided by WIPO offers a simple and safe digital alternative to filing paper copies of priority documents with multiple IP Offices. It enables an applicant claiming priority to ask Offices of second filing to retrieve a copy of the priority document themselves via the service. Demonstration of DAS.
Any applicant wishing to claim priority may use the service to furnish copies of priority documents, providing that the office where the subsequent application is filed participates in the service. If the office where the priority application was filed does not participate in the service, the applicant may furnish a paper certified copy of the priority application directly to WIPO, to be uploaded into the service.
The use of the service is voluntary for both applicants and Offices.
If an applicant files applications in many countries, he does not have to request and pay for multiple copies of paper priority documents, wait for them to arrive and send them to his agents in each country to pass on to the relevant Offices. Instead, the applicant can request the Office of first filing to deposit or register the priority application with the service (this might happen automatically in some cases), and can then decide to make it available via the service to any participating Office of second filing.
The Digital Access Service allows Offices a low cost way of offering a service to local applicants wishing to file applications in other countries. By providing this service to applicants, the Office is able to establish secure, electronic, reliable and legally authentic exchange mechanisms with all other Offices participating in the service. Documents are prepared and transmitted in electronic format directly from a trusted source, eliminating the need for handling paper certified copies. Offices may choose to offer the service to applicants as depositing offices (office of first filing) or as accessing offices (offices of second filing), or both, depending on the capacity of the office and any legal considerations. The service is also consistent with and complementary to other established systems for the exchange of priority documents such as the Trilateral Document Access (TDA) system established by the "Trilateral" Offices (the European Patent Office, the Japan Patent Office and the United States Patent and Trademark Office).
Some details depend on the Office of first filing, but essentially, the Office makes the priority document available via the service at the applicant's request (in some cases this might be done automatically) and an "access code" is sent to the applicant. Using this code and the application number, the applicant can authorize other offices to access the document via the service.
The applicant claims priority when filing a subsequent application. Instead of sending a priority document to the Office of second filing, he asks that Office to retrieve a copy from the service for itself. The Office of second filing provides the necessary information to the service, the authorization to access the document is checked, and the document is then retrieved by the office.
The service is designed to be very reliable and to cope with short periods where the systems of any Office become unavailable. However, participating Offices of second filing have to provide safeguards for applicants to protect their rights in cases where a document cannot in practice be retrieved for some reason. This can either be by ensuring that access via the service is restored or by obtaining and transmitting a conventional certified copy from the Office of first filing. The system also provides for a certificate that the applicant can use to show that the document was made available via the service on a certain date.
What if the Office of first filing or an Office of second filing does not participate in the service?
If the Office of first filing does not participate in the system, the applicant can nevertheless make use of the service by obtaining a single certified copy and submitting it to WIPO. If an Office of second filing does not participate, a paper copy in traditional form will still have to be filed with that Office.
Documents are stored on a secure server hosted by WIPO. Access to the service is restricted to applicants and offices only, and use of the system is monitored. The confidentiality of priority documents that are not yet publicly available is ensured via the access code. The applicant uses the access code to control which offices are authorized to retrieve each document. This is done either by maintaining an Access Control List (for offices still using Routes A, B, C) or by giving the access code to the office of second filing (for offices using the New Route).
The access code is generated either by the office of first filing, or by WIPO, and then sent to the applicant by secure channels. Applicants might subsequently change the access code generated by the service to a code of their choice.
There is no charge for offices or applicants for using the service hosted by WIPO. Fees may be charged by the Offices of first or second filing for the storage or retrieval of documents. WIPO will give details of such fees if they are notified, but applicants should check with the individual Offices to be certain.
Due to the constraints of different national laws regarding applicant confidentiality, certain Offices might not be permitted to make applicant details available to the service, nor even any details regarding the earlier application. In such a case the Office of first filing would be required to provide the access code and the reference link to the priority document directly to the applicant, who would in turn submit this information to the service. To take these differences into account, different options or Routes [link] are available for offices of first filing to participate in the system. However, these options are being simplified in the system from July 2012.