PCT Highlights

The International Patent System

PCT recent and future developments

Collaborative search and examination: third pilot launched on 1 July 2018

After having completed the first and second pilot (see evaluation report PDF), the operational phase of the third pilot will be launched on July 1, 2018  and is expected to run for at least three years; for further reading see Collaborative Search and Examination (and document PCT/WG/11/15 PDF).

PCT Working Group

The eleventh session took place from June 18 to June 22, 2018. The meeting documents and the Summary, prepared by the Chair of the Meeting, are now available.

Meeting of International Authorities (MIA)

The 25th session of the Meeting of International Authorities took place from February 21 to 23, 2018 (Madrid, Spain).  The meeting documents and the Summary, prepared by the Chair of the Meeting, are now available.

PCT Filings in 2017

International patent applications grew by 4.5% to 243,500 in 2017, setting a new annual record. Japan posted strong growth in 2017 but was nosed out of the second position by China. Applicants based in the United States of America maintained their number one ranking, which they have held since operations began nearly 40 years ago.

The top 5 countries of origin for the year were:

  • United States (56,624, 23,3%)
  • China (48,882, 20,1%)
  • Japan (48,208, 19,8%)
  • Germany (18,982, 7,8%)
  • Republic of Korea (15,763, 6,5%)

For further information see PDF; see also infographic 2017 and press release March 2018 as well as videos on YouTube: Highlights on patents; Press Conference.

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 which 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.

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).

ePCT update

An all-new graphical user interface of ePCT was released in 2017, see video Video and background information; read more about the latest, May 2018 release.

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

See list of Offices accepting ePCT-Filing.

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.

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 and Arabic-subtitled version prepared by the Saudi Patent Office). 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.

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.

The PATENTSCOPE search engine

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).


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.

Email updates

PCT Highlights – High-level overview of recent and future developments in the PCT. 1-2 per year.

Sign up