World Intellectual Property Organization


April 2014 | No. 04/2014


Decommissioning of the PCT-EASY functionality of PCT-SAFE

The International Bureau (IB) is taking steps to implement the decommissioning of the PCT-EASY functionality of the PCT-SAFE software with effect from 1 July 2015.

PCT-EASY was introduced in 1998, and was only ever intended to be an interim step prior to the development of a fully electronic filing system. PCT-EASY allowed a diskette (or now CD-R) containing bibliographic data and the abstract in text format to be provided, together with a printout of the request form and the application body in paper form, at a time when it was not yet possible to submit the request form and application body in electronic form.

PCT-EASY was quickly very popular and by 2003 was used for 45% of all international applications. However, during that year, fully electronic applications became possible at several receiving Offices and the use of PCT-EASY began to decline. It is now used in only about 2.5% of all international applications compared to 89% being filed in fully electronic format.

The IB is now concentrating its resources on offering optimal systems to allow applicants to make fully electronic filings. It is now possible to file fully electronically using ePCT-Filing with the receiving Offices of Australia, Austria, Sweden and the International Bureau (which accepts filings from applicants who are residents and/or nationals of any PCT Contracting State), with more Offices to be added soon. An ePCT-filing demo system has been set up to enable filers to familiarize themselves with the system, and filers are encouraged to move to production ePCT-Filing at their convenience. For further information and to get started, go to the ePCT Portal at:

or contact the PCT eServices Help Desk at:


telephone:      (+41-22) 338 9523

The decommissioning of PCT-EASY will have no impact on those who file fully electronically using PCT-SAFE. It continues to be possible to file fully electronic PCT-SAFE applications with 26 e-filing receiving Offices, including the International Bureau.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) accepts PCT applications filed electronically using the PCT-SAFE software in combination with USPTO’s EFS-Web system. Applicants filing with the USPTO should note that, even after the decommissioning of PCT-EASY, it is foreseen that it will still be possible for them to create an “EASY zip” for upload to EFS-Web.

It is recalled that applicants who file their international applications fully electronically benefit from a larger reduction in the international filing fee than that which is offered for applications filed using PCT-EASY.


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