World Intellectual Property Organization

PCT Receiving Office Guidelines

Chapter II: General

Documents and Correspondence

20.  Documents and Correspondence Submitted by the Applicant. Any paper submitted by the applicant in the course of the PCT procedure, other than the international application itself, must, if not itself in the form of a letter, be accompanied by a letter identifying the international application to which it relates; the letter must be signed by the applicant (Rule 92.1(a)). If those requirements are not complied with, the receiving Office informs the applicant as to the non compliance and invites (Form PCT/RO/131) the applicant to remedy the omission within a time limit fixed in the invitation. The time limit so fixed must be reasonable in the circumstances; even where the time limit so fixed expires later than the time limit applying to the furnishing of the paper (or even if the latter time limit has already expired), it shall be not less than 10 days and not more than one month from the date of mailing of the invitation. If the omission is remedied within the time limit fixed in the invitation, the omission shall be disregarded; otherwise, the applicant shall be informed (Form PCT/RO/149) that the paper has been disregarded (Rule 92.1(b)). Where non compliance with those requirements has been overlooked and the paper taken into account for the international procedure, the non compliance is to be disregarded (Rule 92.1(c)).

21. The language of any letter from the applicant to the receiving Office shall be the same as the language of the international application to which such letter relates, provided that, where the international application is to be published in the language of a translation required under Rule 12.3(a) or 12.4(a), any letter shall be in such language (paragraphs 67, 67A and 68). However, the receiving Office may expressly authorize the use of any other language (Section 104(a)). It may also accept any language on a case-by-case basis.

22. Documents and/or correspondence from the applicant which are to be transmitted to the International Bureau and/or the International Searching Authority shall be transmitted by the receiving Office together with the record copy and/or the search copy, respectively, where those copies have not yet been transmitted to that Bureau or Authority (paragraph 285). Otherwise, later documents and/or, correspondence should be transmitted promptly. Form PCT/RO/118 is used for transmitting the record copy, the search copy and any other document and correspondence relating thereto. For transmittal of the record copy and search copy, see paragraphs 285 to 293.

23.  Correspondence Intended for the Applicant. Where the applicant has appointed an agent or agents under Rule 90.1(a), correspondence intended for the applicant is addressed to the applicant’s agent or, in the case of two or more agents, to the “first mentioned agent” under Section 108(a) or (b). Where there are two or more applicants and a common agent (that is, an agent appointed by all applicants) has been appointed, correspondence is addressed to that common agent. Where the applicants have not appointed a common agent but have appointed, under Rule 90.2(a), a common representative (that is, one of the applicants appointed to represent all of them and who is entitled to file an international application in accordance with Article 9), correspondence is addressed to that common representative (Section 108(c)). If an appointed common representative has appointed an agent, correspondence is sent to that agent (Section 108(c)(i)). Where a sub agent has been appointed (Rule 90.1(d)(i)), correspondence intended for the applicant will continue to be sent to the first mentioned agent referred to above; such correspondence will be sent to the sub agent only if the agent who has appointed the sub agent specifically requests that correspondence be sent to the sub agent. In case of doubt, the receiving Office should clarify with the applicant to whom correspondence should be sent. Correspondence intended for the applicant must indicate the applicant’s file reference, if any (Section 109 and paragraph 76).

24.  Where there are two or more applicants and no common agent or common representative has been appointed, correspondence intended for the applicant is addressed to the “deemed” common representative, that is, the applicant first named in the request who is entitled, in accordance with Rule 19.1, to file an international application with the receiving Office (Rule 90.2(b)). If that “deemed” common representative has appointed an agent, correspondence intended for the applicant is addressed to that agent.

25.  Where a special address for correspondence is indicated under Rule 4.4(d) in Box No. IV of the request, correspondence is sent to that address (paragraphs 81 and 118).

26.  Where an international application indicates two or more applicants, it shall be sufficient, for the purpose of identifying that application, to indicate, in any form or correspondence relating to such application, the name of the applicant first named in the request (Section 105).

27.  Mailings by Receiving Offices. Any document or letter emanating from or transmitted by the receiving Office constituting an event from the date of which any time limit under the Treaty and the Regulations commences to run is to be sent by airmail, provided that surface mail may be used instead of airmail in cases where surface mail normally arrives at its destination within two days from mailing or where airmail service is not available (Rule 92.3). In cases where the applicant’s attention should be drawn urgently to a notification or other communication, the receiving Office should, to the extent possible, transmit such notification or other communication by facsimile and send a confirmation copy by mail.  If the applicant or the agent has authorized either the sending of advance copies of notifications by e-mail or the sending of notifications exclusively by e-mail, by marking the corresponding check-box in Box No. II or Box No. IV of the request form, the receiving Office may, if it wishes to offer this service, send such notifications in respect of the international application to the applicant, thus avoiding postal delays. If an e-mail notification is followed by the official notification on paper, only the paper copy of the notification is considered to be the legal copy of the notification and only the date of mailing of the paper copy will commence any time limit within the meaning of Rule 80. Where the applicant requests the sending of notifications exclusively by e-mail, the date of mailing indicated on the electronic copy will commence any time limit within the meaning of Rule 80.

Explore WIPO