World Intellectual Property Organization

Direct filing of PCT applications with the International Bureau as PCT receiving Office (RO/IB)

Any resident or national of a PCT Contracting State may file an international application direct with the International Bureau of WIPO as receiving Office, as an alternative to filing with the competent national or regional Office (see PCT Rule 19.1(a)(iii)).

Filing of PCT Applications

How can an international application be filed with the International Bureau as PCT receiving Office?

International applications may be filed direct with the International Bureau as receiving Office by mail or hand-delivery to WIPO's headquarters, or by facsimile provided that the original of the faxed application is furnished within 14 days from the date of the fax transmission, or by electronic filing (PCT Electronic Filing).

A special form, which is not mandatory, for use when filing applications and other documents (Form PCT/RO/198) can be obtained from WIPO, on which applicants may fill in details concerning the number of pages and the nature of documents filed). These indications will be compared with the pages actually received by the International Bureau. The International Bureau will promptly send to the applicant by fax or by mail an acknowledgment of receipt of the international application or other document (Form PCT/RO/199).  Where the international application is sent by facsimile, Form PCT/RO/199 will be faxed on the same day or, if received outside working hours or on non-working days, on the following working day.

The two-letter code IB will appear in international application numbers accorded by the International Bureau as receiving Office.

International applications or other documents may be filed up to midnight Geneva time and receive the date of the day it was received (irrespective of whether it is filed by fax, online, etc.).  Please note that the last page must have been received before midnight Geneva time (Central European time);  see Rule 80.4.

What special features have to be taken into account?

It is the responsibility of the applicant or the applicant's agent to comply with any applicable national security provisions before filing an international application with the International Bureau as receiving Office.

In the case of filing by fax, where a difference exists between the time in the country from which the international application is transmitted and the time in Geneva, Switzerland (where the International Bureau is located), the operative date is the date in Geneva at the time of receipt of the international application.

In which language can an international application be filed with the International Bureau as receiving Office?

International applications may be filed with the International Bureau as receiving Office in any language. However, the request has to be filed in one of the ten publication languages under the PCT, that is, in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish.

If the language in which the international application is filed (in other words, the language used for description and claims) is not accepted by the International Searching Authority that is to carry out the international search (see PCT Applicant's Guide, Annex D) as to the languages accepted by the various International Searching Authorities), the applicant is required to furnish to the International Bureau as receiving Office, within one month from the date of receipt of the international application by that Office, a translation into a language which is both a language accepted by the International Searching Authority that is to carry out international search and a language of publication (see PCT Rule 12.3).

If the language in which the international application is filed is accepted by the International Searching Authority that is to carry out the international search but is not a language of publication (at present, this is the case only where the international application is filed in Dutch and certain Nordic languages), the international application will be published in the language of translation furnished by the applicant and which is accepted by the International Bureau as receiving Office, that is, in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish (see PCT Rule 12.4).

Which are the competent International Searching Authorities and International Preliminary Examining Authorities?

The competent Authorities are the same as would have been competent if the international application had been filed with the national Office of, or acting for, a Contracting State of which the applicant is a resident or national (see PCT Rules 35.3 and 59.1(b)). This may result in a wider choice of Authorities for international applications filed with the International Bureau as receiving Office if there are two or more applicants from different Contracting States. The choice of International Searching Authority (see PCT Applicant's Guide, Annex C) must be indicated in the request and the choice of International Preliminary Examining Authority (see PCT Applicant's Guide, Annex C) must be indicated in the demand.

Who can act as agent?

Any person who has the right to practice before the national Office of, or acting for, a Contracting State of which the applicant, or, if there are two or more applicants, any of the applicants, is a resident or national is entitled to practice in respect of the international application before the International Bureau in its capacity as receiving Office (see PCT Rule 83.1bis).

What fees are payable?

Fees may be paid in Swiss francs, US dollars, or euro. The amounts payable and applicable reductions are set out in the PCT Applicant's Guide, Annex C(IB).

Reductions to the international filing fee are available for users of PCT-SAFE and applicants from certain States.

What modes of payment of fees are available?

Fees may be paid in any of the following ways:

  • by debit from a current account established with WIPO (Swiss francs only)
  • by bank transfer to WIPO's bank account (Swiss francs, US dollars or euro)
  • by credit card (a valid e-mail address must be provided to the RO/IB in order to pay fees by credit card.  For complete details on credit card payments see PCT E-Payment Service – User Guide) PDF
  • by transfer to WIPO's postal account (Swiss francs only)
  • by check made payable to the World Intellectual Property Organization (Swiss francs, US dollars or euro)

Which address must be used for filing an international application with the International Bureau?

The following address must be used for the filing of international applications:

International Bureau of WIPO
PCT Receiving Office Section
34, chemin des Colombettes
1211 Geneva 20
Switzerland

A letter box is available for filings delivered by hand.

For inquiries, please use the following numbers:

  • Telephone: (41-22) 338 92 22  or (41-22) 338 91 11 (switchboard);
  • Facsimile: (41-22) 910 06 10 (or (41-22) 338 70 60 in case of transmission difficulties) 

or the following E-mail address: ro.ib@wipo.int
 

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