PCT Receiving Office Guidelines
Chapter VI: Article 14 Check and Other Formal Requirements
CORRECTIONS OF DEFECTS
Corrections under Article 14(1)(b) and Rule 26
153. Invitation to Correct. If the receiving Office finds one or more defects under Article 14(1)(a), it invites (Form PCT/RO/106) the applicant to correct them (Article 14(1)(b), Rule 26.1 and Section 316). However, the receiving Office does not invite the applicant to provide a missing signature required under Rule 4.15 if there is more than one applicant and at least one applicant has signed the request (Rule 26.2bis(a), Section 316 and paragraph 122), or where the request is only signed by the agent and the receiving Office has waived the requirement to furnish a separate power of attorney or of a copy of the general power of attorney. If the receiving Office sends an invitation under Article 14(1)(b), the receiving Office notifies the International Bureau and, if the title of the invention or if the abstract is missing (Rules 37.1 and 38.1), or if the drawings are defective, also the International Searching Authority, by sending a copy of Form PCT/RO/106. The invitation to correct must fix a time limit for correction which is reasonable under the circumstances; it shall not be less than one month from the date of the invitation (Rule 26.2).
154. The receiving Office checks whether the corrections have been timely filed. Since, under Rule 26.2, the time limit for correcting defects under Article 14(1)(a) may be extended by the receiving Office at any time before a decision under Rule 26.5 is taken, any correction received after the expiration of the fixed time limit but before a decision is taken must still be accepted.
155. When fixing a time limit or when granting an extension of a time limit, the receiving Office takes into account the fact that corrections which may be relevant for the international search are needed by the International Searching Authority before the establishment of the international search report and that all corrections must reach the International Bureau before completion of the technical preparations for international publication. The international search report must be established within three months from the receipt of the search copy by the International Searching Authority or nine months from the priority date, whichever time limit expires later (Article 18(1), Rule 42). Regarding technical preparations for international publication, see paragraph 337.
156. Procedure to Correct. A correction in the request (Form PCT/RO/101) may be stated in a letter if it is of such a nature that it can be transferred from the letter to the record copy without adversely affecting the clarity and direct reproducibility of the sheet onto which the correction is to be transferred (Rule 26.4). Where this sheet is to be published, the corrected sheet must also meet the requirements for reasonably uniform publication.
157. Where the correction concerns any element of an international application other than the request, the receiving Office invites the applicant to submit a replacement sheet, together with a letter drawing the attention to the differences between the replaced sheet and the replacement sheet, in compliance with Rule 26.4.
158. Where the applicant must furnish, under Rule 26.3ter(c), a translation of the request or, under Rule 26.3ter(a), a translation of the abstract or any text matter of the drawings, certain provisions relating to the correction of defects under Article 14 apply mutatis mutandis (Rule 26.3ter(a) and (c)).
159. Failure to Correct under Article 14(1)(b) and Rule 26. If the receiving Office finds that defects under Article 14(1)(a) have not been corrected or have not been timely corrected, it declares the international application withdrawn and promptly notifies (Form PCT/RO/117) the applicant, the International Bureau and (if the search copy has already been transmitted) the International Searching Authority (Rule 29.1(ii) and (iii)). Since international publication can only be stopped if this notification reaches the International Bureau before completion of technical preparations for international publication (Rule 29.1(v)), it is critical that the declaration that the international application is considered withdrawn be made and notified to the International Bureau early enough to be able to have this effect. In urgent cases, it is strongly recommended that such notifications be faxed to the International Bureau. Together with the copy of Form PCT/RO/117 sent to the International Bureau, the receiving Office should enclose copies of all papers and correspondence relating to the decision declaring that the international application is considered withdrawn to facilitate any subsequent review of that decision by a designated Office under Article 25(1). In any event, in view of Rule 26.3, the receiving Office should, in general, not declare the international application withdrawn for failure to comply with the physical requirements under Rule 11; only in extreme cases of non compliance with those requirements should the receiving Office make such declaration. Where the international application does not contain all the prescribed indications concerning the applicant (Article 14(1)(a)(ii) and Rules 4.4 and 4.5), the receiving Office should not issue a declaration under Rule 26.5 in a case where, for example, there is a minor error in an address (see the opening words of Rule 4.4(c)), or where the applicant’s full name is misspelled or not indicated, even if the applicant fails to correct the defect, upon invitation, within the prescribed time limit. If there is more than one applicant, it is sufficient that the indications required under Rule 4.5(a)(ii) and (iii) be provided in respect of one of them who is entitled according to Rule 19.1 to file the international application with the receiving Office (Rule 26.2bis(b)) (paragraph 84A). Where failure to correct a defect which would affect the reasonably uniform international publication is noticed at a late stage, it would be inappropriate for the receiving Office to declare the international application withdrawn without first issuing a reminder and extending the time limit under Rule 26.2.