Upcoming Entry into Force of Amendments to the PCT Regulations
It is recalled that the Assembly of the PCT Union adopted, during its meeting which was held in Geneva from 5 to 14 October 2015, amendments to the PCT Regulations which will enter into force on 1 July 2016 and 1 July 2017. The amendments that will enter into force on 1 July 2016, and will apply to international applications filed on or after that date, are as follows:
- PCT Rules 9, 48 and 94: Applicants will be able to make a reasoned request that information be omitted from the published version of an international application or the associated files if it does not obviously serve the purpose of informing the public about the international application, it would prejudice the personal or economic interests of any person and there is no prevailing public interest to have access to that information. This will allow the removal of certain irrelevant information, normally included accidentally in the international application or associated documents.
- PCT Rules 26bis and 48: Receiving Offices will normally be required to forward to the International Bureau (IB) copies of documents submitted in connection with a request for restoration of the right of priority. However, under the same conditions as apply in the proposed amendments described above, the applicant will be able to make a reasoned request that certain documents not be forwarded. The main difference is that it is more likely in this case that the relevant information would have been provided deliberately, to establish that the conditions for “due care” had been met. Applicants should note that if key information is not made available, it is more likely that their request for restoration of the right of priority will be reviewed and that they will be required to provide equivalent information again to the designated Offices in the national phase.
- PCT Rule 82quater: The force majeure provisions will be extended to allow time limits to be extended where a time limit had been missed because of a general failure of electronic communications services in the area where the interested party resides. Such an outage will not automatically excuse a failure to meet a time limit. It will be necessary to provide evidence that the outage took place, allege that the outage prevented the time limit being met, and that relevant action was subsequently taken as soon as reasonably possible. Note that this will also apply to international applications filed before 1 July 2016 where the event occurred on or after that date.
- PCT Rule 92: An enabling provision will be included, under which the IB will allow applicants to write to the IB in languages other than English and French. The intention is initially to permit correspondence in the language of publication (or English or French, as at present) where that correspondence is made through ePCT. The arrangements will be extended to all communications once the IB is certain that it has the capacity to handle the work efficiently and that there would be no adverse consequences for designated Offices or third parties. Note that this will also apply to international applications filed before 1 July 2016 where such correspondence is received by the IB on or after that date.
Consolidated texts of the PCT Regulations
It is recalled that the consolidated texts of the Regulations under the PCT which will enter into force on 1 July 2016, are available in Chinese, English, French and Spanish (on the right hand side of the page) at:
The texts in Arabic and Russian have recently been made available (on the right hand side of the page) at:
Other languages will follow shortly.
PowerPoint presentation on amendments to the PCT Regulations
A PowerPoint presentation describing the amendments to the PCT Regulations that will enter into force on 1 July 2016 is now available in Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish at, respectively: