World Intellectual Property Organization

PCT Brief

The International Patent System


PCT recent and future developments 

Assembly of the PCT Union

The Assembly of the PCT Union (PCT Assembly) was held in Geneva from 23 September to 30 October 2014, as part of the meetings of the Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO. The PCT Assembly:

    • Adopted an understanding on a new procedure for the future appointment of International Searching and Preliminary Examining Authorities (see PCT/A/46/4)
    • Appointed the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore as International Searching and Preliminary Examining Authority (see PCT/A/46/5)
    • Adopted all proposed amendments to the PCT Regulations, including a set of new criteria for fee reductions for qualifying applicants (see PCT/A/46/3)

    All documents for this session of the PCT Assembly and the Report are now available.

    ePCT-Filing update

    The following Offices now accept international applications filed using the ePCT-Filing function in the ePCT Portal:

    AT Austrian Patent Office
    AU Australian Patent Office
    BR National Institute of Industrial Property (Brazil)
    CL National Institute of Industrial Property (Chile)
    EA Eurasian Patent Office
    EP European Patent Organisation
    FI Finnish Patent and Registration Office
    IB International Bureau of WIPO
    IN Indian Patent Office
    MY Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia
    NZ Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand
    SE Swedish Patent and Registration Office
    SG Intellectual Property Office of Singapore


    The Canadian Intellectual Property Office, the Latvian Patent Office and the Saudi Patent Office will accept ePCT-Filings shortly.

    ePCT has the best-in-class validation features – all data checks are made against the International Bureau’s database at the time of preparation of the application. To access the ePCT system or read more about the new features for applicants PDF and patent Offices PDF.


    PCT Filings in 2013

    In 2013, PCT filings amounted to 205,300 increasing by 5.1%. The United States saw double digit growth and together with China accounted for 56% and 29% of the total PCT growth, respectively. China surpassed Germany to become the third largest user of the system, with Japan as the second-highest user. The United States remains the most-active user of the system. The top 5 countries of origin for the year were:

      • United States (57,239)
      • Japan (43,918)
      • China (21,516)
      • Germany (17,927)
      • Republic of Korea (12,386)

      See infographic PDF, press release, The PCT Yearly Review PDF, videos: press conference [YouTube], highlights [YouTube].

      Learn the PCT video series

      Learn the PCT is a series of 29 short videos (approximately 15 minutes each) presented by Matthias Reischle, Deputy Director, PCT Legal Division, WIPO [YouTube]. This series is:

        • designed to provide a basic introduction to important aspects and issues in the international phase and national phase of PCT processing;
        • closely follows material covered during basic PCT training seminars and will be particularly useful for those who have not attended such seminars in person, for small and medium-sized enterprises, and for PCT users and potential users in developing and least-developed countries.

        Collaborative search and examination: third pilot planned by EPO/KIPO/USPTO

        In reply to industry’s request for a single search report and written opinion presenting the views of the examiners of multiple patent offices, the EPO, KIPO and USPTO have completed a second pilot project that examined:

          • how collaboration between examiners could be implemented in an operational environment; and
          • the benefits and disadvantages of the collaborative approach in terms of quality and efficiency.

          See also the report on the second pilot in document  PCT/MIA/20/4 PDF and the views of the EPO participants in document PCT/WG/5/9 PDF as well as updates in PCT/WG/6/22 PDF and PCT/WG/7/20 PDF.

          PCT-Patent Prosecution Highway Pilot (PCT-PPH)

            • 112 individual PCT-PPH pathways are now in place enabling applicants to request a fast track examination procedure.
            • 50 per cent of overall PPH is PCT-PPH.
              See also user experience, Carl Oppedahl [YouTube].


            PCT Working Group

              • The PCT Working Group took place from 10 to 13 June 2014.  The Summary prepared by the Chair of the Meeting and the Report are now available, as is a short article in the PCT Newsletter, June 2014.  

              Meeting of International Authorities (MIA)

                • The Summary prepared by the Chair of the Meeting of International Authorities under the PCT, that took place from February 11 to 13, 2014 (Tel Aviv, Israel), is now available.

                The PATENTSCOPE search engine

                  • PATENTSCOPE offers free access to over 37 million patent documents in addition to over 2.5 million PCT applications.
                  • Contains the national patent data collections of 38 national or regional patent offices.
                  • PATENTSCOPE features a number of powerful tools, including cross-lingual search and machine translation
                  • Information on national phase processing of PCT applications is now available for 48 Offices.

                  WIPO GREEN

                  WIPO GREEN is a platform that matches owners of environmentally sound technologies (ESTs) with those seeking licensing or partnership agreements. Listing your ESTs in the WIPO GREEN platform is free of charge and offers a practical additional means for seeking potential licensees or partners.

                  WIPO Arbitration & Mediation Center

                  Gives 25% reduction in the registration and administration fees for its alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services where at least one party to the dispute has been named as an applicant or inventor in a published PCT application (PCT Newsletter, June 2012, page 8 PDF).

                Supplementary International Search

                Requesting one or more supplementary international searches (SIS), during the PCT procedure, expands both the linguistic and technical scope of the search [PPT]

                  • SIS addresses PCT applicants’ concerns about new prior art being found once they have already incurred significant costs and entered the national phase; and
                  • provides extra information in cases where the applicant believes that the commercial value of an invention warrants the additional expense in the international phase.

                  See also the report in document  PCT/MIA/20/5 PDF.

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