A new release of the ePCT system (version 2.10) was deployed on 11 February 2014. New features for applicants, receiving Offices and International Authorities are described below.
ePCT for applicants
Saving ePCT “Actions” as drafts
“Actions” no longer need to be submitted immediately after preparation, as they can now be saved as drafts. The same access rights apply to draft Actions as for the application itself, which means that they can be shared for review and signature by other colleagues, if required. A new “Draft Actions” tab has been added where users can consult all the draft Actions that have been saved for all applications to which they have access rights (please note that only one user can edit a draft at the same time) and a new “IA Drafts” tab will appear within an application when at least one Action has been saved in draft form. It is also possible to save documents prepared for upload as drafts.
New online Action “Declarations under Rule 4.17”
It is now possible to prepare and submit declarations under PCT Rule 4.17 in English after the filing of the international application, using pre-filled bibliographic data, and to submit them directly to the International Bureau (IB) (note that it will only be possible to save draft declarations using this feature in the next version of ePCT).
New online Action “Request for Early Publication”
It is now possible to submit a request to the IB for early publication of the international application by using a new online Action, and applicants can make use of an online validation to see whether publication can actually take place earlier than the current target date (this depends on how much in advance of that target date the request is made).
Improved online Action “Submit Chapter II Demand”
Demands can now be saved as drafts and access can be shared with other colleagues for review and signature, if required. Also, in the event that a text string signature cannot be applied by the applicant or agent, it is now possible to attach a document of type “Signature sheet” containing a scanned copy of Box No. VII of the demand form containing the signature of the applicant or agent.
For applicants filing a demand with the United States Patent and Trademark Office as International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA), it is now possible to indicate that a fee reduction for small or micro entity should apply, and to attach a supporting document to justify entitlement to the fee reduction.
Languages of the Request form in ePCT-Filing
The languages for the output of the Request form have been extended to include Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian (Arabic will be introduced at a later date), noting that, for the time being, the interface is in English only, with dedicated fields for entering names and addresses in those languages, in addition to the English transliteration required for international publication. Translation of the interface into the nine other publication languages is in progress.
ePCT for receiving Offices (ROs), International Searching Authorities (ISAs) and IPEAs
New Actions for ROs
It is now possible for the RO to transmit new electronically filed international applications to the RO/IB (under PCT Rule 19.4) or to “Stop Processing” of a particular international application following a check under PCT Article 11, national security clearance issues, or any other reason. Also, where the IB transmits search copy packages to the ISA upon receipt of the record copy (subject to prior agreement between the IB and the Office concerned), there is an Action to confirm that the search fee has been paid.
New search criteria
Office users are now able to search international applications by status (new international application (IA), IA not yet published, published, withdrawn, etc.) and by filing type. The display of the status has also been improved.
Register new IA
The option “Upload new IA as multiple documents” is now selected by default. It allows Office users to upload different documents types at the same time, such as the description, claims, abstract, drawings and sequence listings.
New or improved forms
A number of document types for ROs, ISAs and IPEAs have been added to the existing list, and improvements have been made to the automatic generation of form PCT/RO/102.
A new section showing the fees payable to the receiving Office has been added, and a new section “eSearch Copy” has been introduced which pairs ROs with competent ISAs.
Please refer to the documents “Office User Guide” and “What’s new for Offices” to identify other improvements which have been made, for example, to Office Notifications, ePCT Messages and the summary of the bibliographic data.
The above-mentioned documents, as well as further information about the new features of ePCT for applicants and about the ePCT system in general, are available at: