First web filing received at RO/IB via ePCT-Filing
A new version of the International Bureau’s (IB) ePCT system was deployed on 1 May 2013, which provides a number of new features for applicants and Offices (see below). Also, a restricted group of pilot users may now submit international applications to the IB as receiving Office (RO/IB) via the new ePCT-Filing component. On 2 May 2013, the first ePCT web filing was submitted by one of those pilot users, Carl Oppedahl of the Oppedahl Patent Law Firm (US), on behalf of the applicant and inventor, Donavan Allen (US). Depending on feedback from the pilot, it is expected that ePCT-Filing will be made available to all users in the second half of this year.
ePCT-Filing has better validation features than other electronic filing software. It provides real time validations against the IB’s database, which means that the reference data and online validation messages are always the most up-to-date. There is no need to worry about having the latest version of software installed on your computer – all that is required is a WIPO user account authenticated with a digital certificate, which applicants using ePCT private services will already have. By preparing an international application using ePCT-Filing, most formalities errors will be detected prior to submission and can be corrected by the applicant before the application is filed. For instance, prior to filing, PDF documents are validated at the time they are attached to the draft application in order to detect color/greyscale content, non-embedded fonts, document size and landscape orientation. International applications filed using ePCT-Filing will be immediately available online to the default “eOwner,” namely, the person submitting the application, with no need to confirm eOwnership as a separate step. Moreover, it is possible to share access rights to a new international application while it is still being prepared in ePCT prior to filing.
What’s new in ePCT version 2.8?
ePCT for Applicants
– The demand for international preliminary examination may now be prepared as an online action (bibliographic data is automatically completed) and submitted to the IB for transmittal to the competent International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA).
– The “Action” to request the IB to obtain a priority document from the WIPO Digital Access Service for Priority Documents (DAS) now includes a real-time look-up in DAS to check that the priority document is already available in DAS and determine if the IB has been given access rights.
– The Workbench filter has been significantly extended and advanced search criteria added.
– The contents of the “My History” screen and the Workbench may now be downloaded as Excel files.
– It is now possible to subscribe to the ePCT mailing list for updates and user tips about ePCT. All current and new users are automatically added to the list.
ePCT for Offices
– Improved access to ePCT for Offices is now available via the main ePCT Portal: https://pct.wipo.int/ePCT
– The “Recent IAs” tab has been replaced by the “Search IA” tab which includes various search criteria.
– The document types that can be transmitted electronically to the IB by Offices in varying capacities (RO, International Searching Authority (ISA), IPEA)) have been significantly extended.
– Offices can now upload documents electronically to the IB even if they do not act as RO, ISA or IPEA for an international application.
– A PCT form generation prototype has been introduced for Form PCT/IB/105 (Notification of the International Application Number and of the International Filing Date) as a proof of concept.
– A new tab “My History” displays all the actions that have been performed by an Office user in ePCT.
– The “History” tab for a specific international application enables Office users to view all actions performed on an international application.
The “Practical Advice” in this issue discusses the importance of following WIPO’s recommendations in respect of names and e-mail addresses when setting up WIPO user accounts with a view to using ePCT (private services).