World Intellectual Property Organization

Chapter 1, International Phase of the PCT Applicant's Guide

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 www.wipo.int/pct/.  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.   Up-to-date versions of the PCT and Regulations may be browsed or downloaded from the PCT Resources page at www.wipo.int/pct/en/texts/. 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 or from the electronic bookshop at www.wipo.int/ebookshop. Publication orders should also indicate the language of the required publication. PCT users may consult published international applications on PATENTSCOPE at:  www.wipo.int/patentscope/search/en/structuredSearch.jsf.  It is also recommended that they consult the Official Notices (PCT Gazette) which contains 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: www.wipo.int/pct/en/official_notices/index.htm.

1.006.   Up-to-date news about the PCT is available from the PCT Newsletter, a monthly publication (in English only). 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:  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 1998 issue onwards.

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:  www.wipo.int/pct/en/texts/washington.html.  This is also available as a printed, bound volume of 728 pages that exists in English and in French.  The WIPO publication number is 313.

1.008.   Further useful material is contained in the Administrative Instructions under the PCT (available at www.wipo.int/pct/en/texts/ai/ai_index.html), the PCT Receiving Office Guidelines (available at www.wipo.int/pct/en/texts/pdf/ro.pdf), and the PCT International Search and Preliminary Examination Guidelines (available at www.wipo.int/pct/en/texts/pdf/ispe.pdf).

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.

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