PCT Milestone: 3 Million Published Applications
The 3 millionth international patent application filed under WIPO’s Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) was published on February 2, 2017, marking an important milestone in the history of the Treaty and of WIPO. To mark the occasion, the Director General addressed a letterto PCT users and issued a memorandum, entitled “The PCT System — Overview and Possible Future Directions and Priorities”.
PCT Filings in 2015
International patent applications grew by 1.7% to 218,000 in 2015, setting a new annual record. Innovators based in the United States have filed the largest annual number of international patent applications for 38 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 (57,385)
- Japan (44,235)
- China (29,846)
- Germany (18,072)
- Republic of Korea (14,626)
Assembly of the PCT Union
The 48th session of the Assembly of the PCT Union (PCT Assembly) was held in Geneva from 3 to 11 October 2016, as part of the meetings of the Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO. The PCT Assembly, inter alia:
- Adopted a number of amendments to the PCT Regulations to extend the deadline for requesting supplementary international search from 19 to 22 months from the priority date, to further add a further small change to Rule 23bis and to remove unnecessary incompatibility provisions (see PCT/A/48/3);
- Appointed Turkish Patent and Trademark Office 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/48/4).
The following Offices now accept international applications filed using the ePCT-Filing function in the ePCT Portal:
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 .
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] (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;
- 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 started in 2016
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.
The third pilot started on 1 June 2016 and is expected to run for three years (see document PCT/MIA/23/12 ).
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 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 also user experience, Carl Oppedahl [YouTube].
More about other worksharing initiatives among Offices.
PCT Working Group
- The Ninth session of the PCT Working Group took place from May 17 to 20, 2016. The meeting documents, including the Summary of the session, prepared by the Chair of the Meeting, are now available, as is a short article in the PCT Newsletter, June 2016.The meeting was held back-to-back with the PCT Committee for Technical Cooperation. The Report of the session and the meeting documents are available.
- The previous session took place from May 26 to 29, 2015 and the Summary of the session, prepared by the Chair of the Meeting and the Report are available, as is a short article in the PCT Newsletter, June 2015.
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 previous session took place from January 20 to 22, 2016 (Santiago, Chile). The Summary, prepared by the Chair of the Meeting of International Authorities under the PCT, is available.
The PATENTSCOPE search engine
- PATENTSCOPE offers free access to over 59 million patent documents in addition to over 3 million PCT applications.
- Contains the national patent data collections of 43 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 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 ).
Supplementary International Search
- 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.
As of 1 July 2017, the time limit for requesting supplementary international search will be extended from 19 to 22 months from the priority date.
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