World Intellectual Property Organization

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

CHAPTER 1: HOW TO USE THE NATIONAL PHASE OF THE PCT APPLICANT’S GUIDE

1.001.   This part of the PCT Applicant’s Guide (the Guide) contains information on the “national phase” of the PCT procedure, namely the procedure before the designated (or elected) Offices.  It follows on from information on the “international phase” of the PCT procedure.

1.002.   This part consists of two elements.  First, this text which explains in detail what must be done by the applicant in connection with entry into the national phase.

1.003.   Following this are National Chapters relating to all designated (or elected) Offices.  Each National Chapter is structured as follows:

(i)  Title page – containing a table of contents and a list of abbreviations;

(ii)  Summary – containing a listing of the specific requirements of each designated (or elected) Office which must be complied with in connection with entry into the national phase as outlined below;

(iii)  The procedure in the national phase – containing an outline of the main procedural steps before the Office concerned once the national phase has started, further details relating to certain particular requirements referred to in the Summary and information about the fees that must be paid and national forms that may or must be used by the applicant in connection with entry into the national phase or during the national phase;

(iv)  Annexes – containing a schedule of the fees referred to in the National Chapter, an explanation on how payment of fees can be made to the Office and samples or models of forms for use by the applicant in the national phase (photocopies of those forms are accepted by the Offices concerned).

1.004.   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.  Any use of those expressions in the text of the National Chapters is followed by an indication of whether they relate to the PCT or to national legislation.  References to a “paragraph” relate, unless otherwise specified, to the text of the National Phase.

1.005.   The Office that is competent for each PCT Contracting State which may be designated (or elected) is usually the national Office of the State concerned.  For States party to the ARIPO Harare Protocol, the Eurasian Patent Convention or the European Patent Convention, the national phase procedure takes place before the national Office and/or the regional Office concerned (the ARIPO Office, the Eurasian Patent Office or the European Patent Office, respectively), depending on the kind of designations (for national protection and/or for a regional patent) which were made.  (As to regional patent systems, see International Phase, paragraphs 4.022 to 4.026).  For certain States party to the ARIPO Harare Protocol or the European Patent Convention which have “closed the national route,”  the national phase takes place exclusively before the ARIPO Office or the European Patent Office, respectively (see paragraph 2.002 of this part).  Where the national law of a PCT Contracting State provides for patent protection through the extension of a European patent, the national phase takes place, in effect, before the European Patent Office (see International Phase, paragraph 5.054).  For all States party to the OAPI Agreement the national phase takes place exclusively before the OAPI Office (see International Phase, paragraphs 4.022 to 4.026 and paragraph 2.002 below).  Annexes B contain information as to the competent designated Offices for each Contracting State.

1.006.   The draft of each Chapter dealing with an Office (national or regional) in its capacity as designated (and elected) Office has been approved by that Office.  Naturally, the Chapters still may not deal with all the questions that could emerge.  Moreover, practices and rules may change, and in any case, the only authentic sources are the laws, rules and regulations.  While any correction, completion or updating will be effected as soon as possible, applicants are nevertheless advised to use the services of local patent attorneys or patent agents, whose expert knowledge and experience cannot be replaced by any written text.

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