PCT Receiving Office Guidelines
Chapter V: Language Check (Article 3(4)(i); Rules 12.1, 12.3, 12.4 and 26.3ter)
55. Pursuant to Article 3(4)(i), the international application (that is, all elements of the international application: request, description (other than any sequence listing part thereof), claims, abstract, any text matter of the drawings) must be in “a prescribed language.” This requirement means that description (other than any sequence listing part thereof), claims, abstract and any text matter of the drawings must be in the language, or one of the languages, which the receiving Office, pursuant to Rule 12.1(a), accepts for the filing of international applications, and that the request must be in any language of publication which the receiving Office accepts for the filing of requests (Rule 12.1(c)). The languages of publication for international applications are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish (Rule 48.3(a)).
56. With regard to the description (other than any sequence listing part thereof) and claims, compliance with the requirement that the international application be in a prescribed language is a condition for according an international filing date (Article 11(1) and Rule 20.1(c)). If the description and/or the claims, or any part thereof (except any sequence listing part of the description, see paragraphs 68 and 222), are not in such a language, the receiving Office must, subject to any required national security clearance and payment of any required fee, transmit the international application to the International Bureau as receiving Office (paragraphs 41 and 274 to 282).
57. With regard to the abstract, any text matter of the drawings and the request, compliance with requirements as to language is not a condition for according an international filing date. If the abstract or any text matter of the drawings does not comply with Article 3(4)(i) and Rule 12.3(a), that is, if those elements of the international application are not in the same language as the description and claims, the receiving Office proceeds as provided in Rule 26.3ter(a) (paragraph 63). If the request does not comply with Article 3(4)(i) and Rule 12.1(c), the receiving Office proceeds as provided for in Rule 26.3ter(c) (paragraph 60).3
58. Under Rule 12.1(a), receiving Offices may accept for the filing of international applications languages which are not accepted by the competent International Searching Authority(ies) for the purposes of international search. Where the applicant files an international application in a language not accepted by the competent International Searching Authority chosen in respect of that application, the applicant is required to furnish a translation for the purposes of international search as outlined in paragraph 69. The provisions relating to the language of the international application operate in such a way that either the international application in its original language or any required translation is sufficient for each stage of the procedure during Chapter I of the international phase (for the processing of the international application by the receiving Office, for the carrying out of the international search and establishment of the written opinion by the International Searching Authority and for the international publication) (Rules 12.1(b), 12.3(a) and 12.4(a)); where the international application must be translated, only one translation is required for all the above-mentioned stages
3 If the international application is filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office as receiving Office, all elements of the international application other than any sequence listing part of the description (that is, request, description other than any sequence listing part thereof, claims, abstract, any text matter of the drawings) must be in English (see Rule 20.1(c) and (d)).