Patent Applications Management Software (PCT-ROAD)
- What is PCT-ROAD?
- How does PCT-ROAD work?
- Background of the PCT-ROAD Project
- Development history of the PCT-ROAD system
- What are the benefits of PCT-ROAD?
- Which Offices participate in the PCT-ROAD system?
- Offices which have contributed to the development of PCT-ROAD
The PCT-ROAD stands for PCT Receiving Office ADministration and it is a management software for PCT international applications. The PCT-ROAD system enables PCT receiving Offices (ROs) to start electronic filing (e-filing) under the PCT. It can also be used to facilitate the processing of filings on paper and automate RO activities such as formality check and generation of several copies for PCT international authorities. PCT-ROAD S/W is free of charge and available to any PCT receiving Office.
Figure 1: Conceptual Diagram of PCT e-filing with PCT-ROAD
It is easy to set up the PCT-ROAD system. Basically only one server PC is required to deploy the system and operate PCT e-filing. However, the system can be extended simply by adding client PCs to the server machine according to PCT workload increase and human resources.
The PCT-ROAD is a web-based stand-alone software. The PCT-ROAD S/W is installed only on the server machine. Client PCs operate with the PCT-ROAD server in the web-connection with web browser (i.e. Internet Explorer) and therefore client PCs do not need to install the PCT-ROAD S/W.
The selection of the system configuration depends on the number of applications filed in a year and the number of Staff available to handle the applications. Simple Configuration is adequate for PCT ROs which receive few PCT applications and can have limited PCT staff. In this case, only one PC is required to set up the PCT-ROAD system and operate it. If your Office receives many PCT applications and the PCT business section is composed of several staff members (i.e. a system administrator, receiving Officers, formality examiners), it is convenient to consider the advanced configuration of the PCT-ROAD system with a server machine and several client PCs as well.
Figure 2: Two Options for deploying the PCT-ROAD System
Major features of the PCT-ROAD system are as follows:
- Receive and handle international applications in any format (electronic format or paper format)
- Assign a receipt number and issue confirmation of receipt of an international application
- Fully electronically process electronic filings received on physical media(CD-R or Floppy Diskette)
- Enable international applications submitted on paper(including PCT-EASY format) to be processed electronically with functions such as data entry and upload of scanned IAs
- Check that international applications comply with the legal and technical requirements under the PCT for functions such as ex-officio corrections and formality check
- Generate several copies for international authorities such as home copy for RO, record copy for IB(International Bureau) and search copy for ISA(International Search Authority)
- Generate an electronic record copy named RO-WASP (Wrapped and Signed Package) and send the RO-WASP to the IB by internet (EDI)
- Manage international applications by making use of IA retrieval, backup and statistics functions
Applicants can prepare a PCT request form using the PCT-SAFE Client software and the technical description part of the application can be drafted using the PCT-SAFE Editor (PSE).
Finally, an International Application (IA) can be submitted electronically to a receiving Office after storing it on a CD-R or diskette (the type of acceptable physical media is decided by the receiving Office) using the physical media filing option of the PCT-SAFE Client.
For a receiving Office staff member, the PCT-ROAD system supports the most essential functions associated with the processing of international applications such as receiving the application, data entry, printing, ex-officio corrections, formality check, and creating the RO-WASP (Receiving Office Wrapped Application Signed Package) – a mechanism for sending the electronic record copy to WIPO (IB).
Figure 3: Operation Procedure of PCT-ROAD
PCT e-filing became available with the International Bureau as a receiving office (RO/IB) in February 2004, using PCT-SAFE Client software for filing either over the Internet or on physical media such as CD-R or floppy diskette. Nevertheless, there are many PCT Contracting States that have not been able to take advantage of electronic filing due to limited resources and/or constraining IT infrastructure. As a result, applicants using these receiving Offices could not enjoy the benefits of electronic filing including electronic filing fee reduction.
The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) developed its own automation system to receive international applications prepared with PCT-SAFE Client software and has been successfully operating it for Korean applicants since January 2004. WIPO and KIPO agreed on the development of a PCT automation system for receiving offices to process international applications electronically.
WIPO and KIPO developed the first version of the PCT-ROAD system by tailoring and customizing the KIPO system in 2005 and made it available to all PCT receiving Offices in 2005.
There have been three major stages in the development of the PCT-ROAD project and the PCT-ROAD system has evolved not only to improve performance and stability, but also to meet the receiving Offices' staff's requirements.
The 1st stage: Initial development (2004~2006)
- The first PCT-ROAD S/W in English version was developed in 2005 with major RO functionalities such as receiving IA, data entry, formality check, RO and IB forms generation, and deadline management
- The Spanish version was implemented in 2006
The 2nd stage: System improvement (2007~2009)
- PCT rule changes (April 2007, July 2008, January and July 2009) were reflected in the PCT-ROAD upgrade versions(2.5.1 and 2.5.2) when they were released
- The EDI(Electronic Data Interchange) function complying with minimal specification for electronic document exchange was added
- Database structure and program modules were optimized
- Management functions regarding international application retrieval and statistics were implemented
The 3rd stage: Enhancement of quality and stability (2010~Current)
- Performance and stability were significantly improved by re-engineering the system architecture and these were implemented in PCT-ROAD version 3.0
- The processing speed of the system becomes twice faster than that of previous one
- User interface was newly designed to improve user convenience and facilitate business processes
- The function of validation check for data was reinforced in order to prevent users’ mistake while entering the data
- Backup function was improved and its stability was enhanced
- Spanish version was updated exactly same as the English version
- PCT rule changes in April 2010 were reflected
Making PCT electronic filing accessible to PCT receiving offices by:
- Providing practical assistance to PCT Contracting States in automating PCT administration and bridging the experience gap between developed and developing member States;
- Enabling applicants to file using any of the options now available in the PCT, such as fully electronic (with a fee reduction of up to 300 Swiss francs), PCT-EASY (fee reduction of 100 Swiss francs) or paper format;
- Having the capacity to expand the system at a later stage to enable on-line electronic filing under the PCT. The Offices may also find that this system can be adapted to facilitate electronic filing of national patents.
Improving the efficiency of receiving office administration by:
- Satisfying the growing demand for the use of electronic methods for processing and data exchange and an ability to keep up with the continued increase in the number of International Applications;
- Improving efficiency of the business environment, in particular for receiving and managing PCT documents.
Five IP Offices (Egypt, Israel, the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia) closely participated in the PCT-ROAD project as pilot offices in 2005 and 2006. The Philippines and Malaysian IP offices launched and have been operating PCT-ROAD system for PCT electronic processing in their offices. The PCT-ROAD system has been introduced to other 24 IP offices (i.e. Singapore, Canada, and Mexico) and some offices have expressed their interest in using the PCT-ROAD system. Thailand office joined as a user office using PCT-ROAD system in 2010.
The Spanish Patent and Trademark Office contributed to implementing the Spanish language support in the PCT-ROAD making electronic filing under the PCT more accessible for Offices that work in Spanish.
WIPO would like to thank the Israeli Patent Office (ILPTO) for the important role that it played in the advancement of the PCT-ROAD System in 2005. PCT-ROAD has been developed to support the most essential features in the processing, maintenance and management of international applications by PCT Receiving Offices, and ILPTO played a key role in providing input into the development of the system from the Receiving Office perspective. In particular, WIPO relied on the ILPTO for its active involvement in the testing of the system. The ILPTO’s knowledge and experience with the receiving and processing of the international applications has been invaluable. We think that PCT-ROAD is a better product owing to the contribution and close cooperation among KIPO, WIPO and ILPTO.
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