Administrative Instructions under the Patent Cooperation Treaty
(a) An international application may, subject to this Part, be filed in electronic form if the receiving Office has notified the International Bureau in accordance with Rule 89bis.1(d) that it is prepared to receive international applications in such form.
(b) An international application filed in electronic form shall be:
(ii) filed by a means of transmittal that has been specified by the receiving Office in accordance with Annex F or that complies with the basic common standard;
(iii) in the form of an electronic package, appropriate to the means of transmittal, that has been specified by the receiving Office in accordance with Annex F or that complies with the basic common standard;
(v) free of viruses and other forms of malicious logic in accordance with Annex F or that complies with the basic common standard.
(c) An international application filed in electronic form shall, for the purposes of Article 14(1)(a)(i), be signed by the applicant using a type of electronic signature that has been specified by the receiving Office in accordance with Annex F or, subject to Section 704(g), that complies with the basic common standard.8
(d) A receiving Office which has not notified the International Bureau in accordance with Rule 89bis.1(d) that it is prepared to receive international applications in electronic form may nevertheless decide in a particular case to receive an international application submitted to it in such form, in which case this Part shall apply accordingly.
(e) Any receiving Office may refuse to receive an international application submitted to it in electronic form if the application does not comply with paragraph (b), or may decide to receive the application.
(f) If, on 7 January 2002, the applicable national law and the technical systems of a national Office provide for the filing with it of national applications in electronic form according to requirements which are incompatible with any of items (ii) to (iv) of paragraph (b):9
(i) the provisions concerned shall not apply in respect of the Office in its capacity as a receiving Office for as long as the incompatibility continues; and
(ii) the Office may instead provide for the filing with it of international applications in electronic form according to that national law and those technical systems;
provided that the Office informs the International Bureau accordingly by the date on which the Office sends the International Bureau a notification under Rule 89bis.1(d) and in any case no later than 7 April 2002. The information received shall be promptly published by the International Bureau in the Gazette.
6 Editor’s Note: Use of the basic common standard (see Section 701(v) and Annex F, Appendix III) is not mandatory for applicants, but the receiving Office must accept applications that comply with the basic common standard in addition to applications that comply with different requirements that the Office may have specified for the purposes of paragraph 703(b)(i), (ii) and (iv). The basic common standard itself does, however, provide for certain options to be exercised by receiving Offices. Note that the basic common standard provides for the use of PKI technology for packaging the international application documents.
7 Editor’s Note: The PCT-SAFE software is made available by the International Bureau to applicants and receiving Offices. That software supports the basic common standard and certain alternatives available under Annex F. Use of that software is not mandatory, but it has to be accepted by any receiving Office under the basic common standard. That result is consistent with the conclusion of the Committee on Reform of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) reached at its first session in May 2001 (see document PCT/R/1/26, paragraph 66(x)). Any receiving Office will, however, also be able under Section 703(b)(iv) to specify other filing software acceptable to it.
8 Editor’s Note: The receiving Office must specify the type(s) of electronic signature that it is prepared to accept (see Section 710(a)(i)). While signature in compliance with the basic common standard is sufficient for the purposes of filing, compliance with the receiving Office’s particular requirements may be required subsequently pursuant to Section 704(g). Note the distinction between requirements as to signature of the application for the purposes of Article 14(1)(a)(i) (which may be a basic or enhanced electronic signature by the applicant) as distinct from packaging (which requires the use of the electronic signature of the sender).
9 Editor’s Note: An Office that has made a transitional reservation under Section 703(f) has to comply with other applicable provisions of Part 7 and Annex F, including Section 703(b)(i). For example, Section 713(b) would require compliance with Annex F as to the electronic packaging of documents transmitted from the receiving Office to the International Bureau. That would be the case even if the international application itself as filed with the receiving Office did not, pursuant to a transitional reservation by the Office under Section 703(f), comply with the requirements of Section 703(b)(iii) and Annex F, section 5.2.1, as to electronic packaging. Moreover, an applicant who filed an international application with a receiving Office which has made a transitional reservation under Section 703(f) as to the application of Section 703(b)(iii) would not have to comply with Annex F as to PKI-based electronic packaging of the application. However, any subsequent communications in electronic form between the applicant and the International Bureau, the International Searching Authority or the International Preliminary Examining Authority would have to comply with Annex F.