PCT Highlights

The International Patent System

PCT recent and future developments

40 Years of the PCT

The date of 24 January 2018 marked the 40th anniversary of the entry into force of Chapter I of the PCT in respect of 13 States, and by the time the PCT commenced operations on 1 June 1978, the PCT had entered into force also in respect of five more States; for further reading see 40 Years of the PCT.

PCT and IP data reports 2017

The World Intellectual Property Indicators – 2017 includes a special section PDF on the operational performance of patent Offices takes an in-depth look at application processing times, examination capacity and examination outcomes.

The World Intellectual Property Report (WIPR) 2017 focuses this time on intangible capital in global value chains.

PCT Yearly Review: International patent applications grew by 7.3% to 233,000 in 2016, setting a new annual record. Innovators based in the United States have filed the largest annual number of international patent applications for 39 years running. Still, large increases in patent-filing activity by China-based innovators accounted for much of the overall growth.

The top 5 countries of origin for the year were:

  • United States (56,595)
  • Japan (45,239)
  • China (43,168)
  • Germany (18,315)
  • Republic of Korea (15,560)

A special theme on how applicants time their international patent filings was added to the 2017 publication.

See also infographic 2016 PDF, press release.

Videos: Highlights Video/[YouTube] | Press Conference Video/[YouTube]

Assembly of the PCT Union

The 49th session of the Assembly of the PCT Union (PCT Assembly) was held in Geneva from 2 to 11 October 2017, as part of the meetings of the Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO.  The PCT Assembly, inter alia:

  • Adopted editorial amendments to the PCT Regulations consequential to the previous amendments to Rules 12bis and 23bis.
  • Adopted amendments to the PCT Schedule of Fees and clarified by an Understanding that the 90% fee reductions in item 5 of the Schedule of Fees are intended only for persons filing an international application in their own right and not those filing an international application on behalf of a person or entity which is not eligible for the reduction.
  • Appointed the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines as an International Searching Authority (ISA) and International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) under the PCT. The appointment will become effective from a future date to be notified by the Office when it is ready to begin operations (see PCT/A/49/3).
  • Extended the appointment of the present International Searching and Preliminary Examining Authorities under the PCT until 31 December 2027 (see PCT/A/49/2).

For a complete summary, see the PCT Newsletter, October 2017.  All documents, including the Report, for this session are now available.

Amendments to the PCT Regulations

On 1 July 2017, amendments to the PCT Regulations and consequential modifications to other PCT Texts and Forms entered into force:

  • adding a new obligation for designated Offices to timely send national phase entry and related data to the International Bureau (PCT Rules 86 and 95);
  • requiring receiving Offices to transmit earlier search and/or classification results to the International Searching Authority (PCT Rules 12bis, 23bis and 41);  and
  • extending the deadline for requesting supplementary international search from 19 to 22 months from the priority date (PCT Rule 45bis.1).  

For a summary of the amendments, see the PCT Newsletter, June 2017 and the PowerPoint presentations on our PCT website (Amendments to the Regulations PPT).

New PCT Contracting State 

Jordan (country code:  JO)

On 9 March 2017, Jordan deposited its instrument of accession to the PCT, thus becoming the 152nd Contracting State of the PCT, and, on 9 June 2017, became bound by the PCT.  Consequently, any international application filed on or after 9 June 2017 will automatically include the designation of Jordan.  Also, because Jordan is bound by Chapter II of the PCT, it will automatically be elected in any demand filed in respect of an international application filed on or after 9 June 2017. 

Furthermore, nationals and residents of Jordan are entitled, as from 9 June 2017, to file international applications under the PCT.

PCT Working Group

The Tenth session of the PCT Working Group took place from May 8 to 12, 2017, and agreed to submit to the PCT Assembly amendments to the Schedule of Fees and an Understanding on the 90% fee reduction as well as consequential amendments to the transmittal of earlier search and/or classification results. It further discussed inter alia fee reductions for universities and including national and cooperative classification symbols in addition to the IPC into PCT published applications.

The meeting documents, including the Chair’s Summary of the session and the Report are available, as is a short article in the PCT Newsletter, May 2017. The meeting was held back-to-back with the PCT Committee for Technical Cooperation (CTC). The meeting documents, the Summary of the session and the Report are also available.

Meeting of International Authorities (MIA)

The 24th session of the Meeting of International Authorities took place from February 8 to 10, 2017 (Reykjavik, Iceland).  The meeting documents and the Summary, prepared by the Chair of the Meeting, are now available.  The next session will take place from February 21 to 23, 2018 (Madrid, Spain). The draft agenda is now available.

ePCT update

An all-new graphical user interface of ePCT was released in March 2017, see video Video and background information; read more about the latest, December 2017 release.

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
AZ State Committee for Standardization, Metrology and Patent of the Republic of Azerbaijan
BG Patent Office of the Republic of Bulgaria
BN Brunei Intellectual Property Office (BruIPO)
BR National Institute of Industrial Property (Brazil)
CA Canadian Intellectual Property Office
CH Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property
CL National Institute of Industrial Property (Chile)
CO Superintendence of Industry and Commerce (Colombia)
CZ Industrial Property Office (Czechia)
CU Cuban Industrial Property Office
DK Danish Patent and Trademark Office
DO National Office of Industrial Property (Dominican Republic)
DZ Algerian National Institute of Industrial Property
EA Eurasian Patent Office
EE Estonian Patent Office
EG Egyptian Patent Office
EP European Patent Organisation
FI Finnish Patent and Registration Office (PRH)
GE National Intellectual Property Center of Georgia (SAKPATENTI)
HR State Intellectual Property Office (Croatia)
HU Hungarian Intellectual Property Office
IB International Bureau of WIPO
ID Directorate General of Intellectual Property (Indonesia)
IL1 Israel Patent Office
IN Indian Patent Office
IR Intellectual Property Center (Islamic Republic of Iran)
IS Icelandic Patent Office
IT Italian Patent and Trademark Office
JO Industrial Property Protection Directorate, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Supply (Jordan)
KR Korean Intellectual Property Office
LV Latvian Patent Office
MA Moroccan Office of Industrial and Commercial Property (OMPIC)
MX Mexican Institute of Industrial Property
MY Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia
NO Norwegian Industrial Property Office
NZ Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand
OM Intellectual Property Department, Ministry of Commerce and Industry (Oman)
PA Directorate General of the Industrial Property Registry (DIGERPI) (Panama)
PE National Institute for the Defense of Competition and Intellectual Property Protection (Peru)
PH Intellectual Property Office (Philippines)
PL Patent Office of the Republic of Poland
PT National Institute of Industrial Property (Portugal)
QA Intellectual Property Department (Qatar)
RS Intellectual Property Office (Serbia)
RU Federal Service for Intellectual Property (Rospatent) (Russian Federation)
SA Saudi Patent Office
SE Swedish Patent and Registration Office
SG Intellectual Property Office of Singapore
SI Slovenian Intellectual Property Office
SK Industrial Property Office (Slovakia)
TR Turkish Patent and Trademark Office
US1 United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
ZA Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) (South Africa)

1 See Annex C of the PCT Applicant’s Guide for detailed information on the Office’s acceptance of ePCT.

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 and patent Offices PDF.

Collaborative search and examination: preparation of third pilot

After having completed the first and second pilot (see evaluation report PDF), the preparatory phase of the third pilot started with the endorsement of the CS&E Cooperation Framework by IP5 Heads, on June 2, 2016. The operational phase is expected to run for at least three years from May 1, 2018 (see document PCT/WG/10/11 PDF).

PCT-Patent Prosecution Highway Pilot (PCT-PPH)

PCT-PPH pathways enable applicants to request a fast track examination procedure.

  • 50 per cent of overall PPH is PCT-PPH.
  • Data from selected Offices in 2015 shows that PPH requests have a 7.5% to 26% higher grant rate and a 4% to 39.7% higher first Office action allowance rate than all applications combined. The average pendency rate from the PPH request to final decision was between 5.8 and 26.8 months less than for all applications combined, see PCT Yearly Review 2016 PDF,C.6.
  • See also user experience, Carl Oppedahl [YouTube].

More about other worksharing initiatives among Offices.


Learn the PCT video series

A series of 29 short videos (approximately 15 minutes each) presented by Matthias Reischle, Deputy Director, PCT Legal Division, WIPO [YouTube] (see also portuguese-subtitled version prepared by INPI Brazil). This series is:

  • designed to provide a basic introduction to important aspects and issues in the international phase and national phase of PCT processing; and
  • 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.

The PATENTSCOPE search engine


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 8PDF).

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 and PCT/WG/8/6 PDF.

For supplementary search request for which the 19-month time limit has not yet expired on 1 July 2017, the time limit has been extended from 19 to 22 months from the priority date.

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