ePCT Frequently Asked Questions for Offices

Office user account-related questions

Three main steps are necessary to get an operational ePCT Office user account:

  • Create a WIPO User Account (If you don’t have already a WIPO user account)
  • Define your preferred authentication method: A WIPO account with strong authentication is required to access confidential data and documents in ePCT. It can be any one of the following:
    • One Time Password (OTP) using an App on your device (e.g. Google Authenticator);
    • One Time Password (OTP) by Text Message (SMS) using your mobile phone; or
    • Any supported Digital Certificate (WIPO Digital Certificate or a certificate provided by your IP Office e.g. the EPO’s Smart card). For more details about digital certificates, please contact the PCT eServices team pct.eservices@wipo.int
Authentication Methods
    • Get the right ePCT Office role(s): Once your WIPO user account is created and the strong authentication is defined, your Office main contact person (i.e. person responsible for PCT within your Office or nominated by your management as the main contact person for ePCT) should send an email to PCT eServices helpdesk pct.eservices@wipo.int, indicating your user name, email address and which ePCT role(s) should be granted to you. Depending on the capacity of your Office (RO, ISA, IPEA and/or DO) and the nature of work performed, one or several ePCT roles can be assigned to you.

    If you have already created a WIPO user account to access other WIPO services (e.g. WIPO Academy, DAS, etc.), you only need to connect to ePCT using the same user account (user name, password), set an authentication method and get the right ePCT access role(s), as indicated in the second and third steps above.

    No. Each Office users can have only one WIPO account created using the same email address (Office email address of the user) and the same user name.

    As an Office user, you can only modify your phone number and your preferred communication language. To edit this information, once you are logged in, select the option ‘My Account’ under your user name (top right corner of the window).

    Any other changes should be requested via email to PCT eServices helpdesk pct.eservices@wipo.int.

    Yes. Office users can change their authentication methods or add a new one by selecting the option ‘My Account’ and then ‘Authentication Methods’.

    ePCT for Offices-General questions

    The ePCT system offers serval functions to PCT offices, depending on their capacity (RO, ISA, IPEA or DO) and the enabling or not of some features (processing applications, distribution of IB forms, eSearchCopy, etc.).

    Please refer to ePCT user guide PDF, ePCT User Guide for more details about available ePCT functions per Office capacity

    Once you are logged in to ePCT, you can search all International Applications (IAs) filed since January 2009. A search can be done by International Application number, the applicant’s reference, or by combining multiple search criteria using the ‘Advanced Search’ option.

    The result of the search is based on the capacity of the Office in respect of each application. For example, Offices with RO role only can search only the IAs that were filed in their respective Offices (e.g. RO/FR Office users can search only IAs that were filed in France as receiving Office, and the search result will return only applications with the IA number starting with PCT/FRyyyy/nnnnnn).

    As another example, the search result for Offices that have more than one capacity (e.g. RO, ISA, IPEA and DO) will include all IAs for which that Office is acting as RO, ISA, IPEA or DO, assuming that the user who conducted the search has the right access role(s) too.

    Example of a search screen using Advanced Search:

    Example of a search screen using Advanced Search

    Your Office profile shows the configuration of your Office, in different capacities, as defined in the internal system of the International Bureau (IB). The Configuration is mainly based on the annexes B and C of the PCT applicant’s guide (e.g. the name of the Office, language of Forms from the IB, language of ePCT notifications, accepted languages for the request form and filing, competent International Authorities, filing methods, list of fees, etc.) and other specific information such as the list of Office user accounts, ePCT processing and eSearchCopy settings, list of distributed IB forms and the distribution methods).

    Once you are logged in to ePCT, select ‘Office Profiles’ under your user name (top right corner of the window). If you notice any incorrect information or you would like to update any information of your office profile, please contact the PCT eServices helpdesk.

    Yes. Open your Office profile and select another Office from the dropdown list of IP Offices. All Office sections are shown except the list of Office users.

    See the ‘Current distribution per office capacity’ section for each Office capacity under your ‘Office Profile’. More than one distribution means can be configured (paper, ePCT notification, PCT-EDI). The IB is progressively stopping the paper copies and is encouraging Offices to use ePCT notifications and PCT-EDI for high volume data.

    No. Online payment through ePCT can only be done for International Applications filed to IB as receiving Office.

    ePCT allows you to send ePCT messages for a specific IA. If you have access to the application and you wish to send a message to other parties (from/to RO, IB, ISA or Applicant), click the link ‘ePCT Message’ located in the top right corner of the IA screen, select your capacity and recipient, type the text message and press ‘Send’. ePCT will render your message as a PDF document and make it available under the section ‘Documents’ of the IA. A notification is also sent to the recipient if the configuration is already in place.

    Once you are logged in to ePCT, select ‘Notifications’ under your user name (top right corner of the window). The list of Notifications received by your Office should be shown. You can of course use the filter to refine the search and perform a number of actions on received notifications (e.g. Mark as Read, Unread or Clear selected notifications).

    The Office user history is available under your user name (top right corner of the window). It summarizes all your tasks and actions performed on ePCT. Through the same screen, you can filter by user name to view the history of other users or all users from your Office.

    Through the reporting module, you can generate the following reports, assuming that your role and the capacity of your office allow for that:

    • RO-01: Applications filed in your receiving office, sorted by type and status
    • RO-02: Search copies pending i.e. yet to be sent by your receiving office to the ISA
    • ISA-01: Search reports outstanding, by time from target
    • ISA-02: Search copies pending, by RO
    • IPEA-01: IPERs outstanding, by time from target

    Receiving Office-related questions

    Yes. Receiving Offices with at least one valid user account can register new international applications filed in paper format, scan and upload received documents before transmitting the application (record copy) to the International Bureau.

    For more information, please see the ‘New IA’ function in the ePCT user guide:

    New IA function in the ePCT user guide

    ‘New IA – RO Phase’ is the default status of any new application (not yet transmitted to the international bureau) filed electronically or created manually by the receiving Office (paper filing)

    Applications that are in status ‘New IA – RO Phase’ and filed electronically are visible only to the receiving Office users and applicant(s). Applications filed in paper format and created in ePCT by the receiving Office are accessible only by RO users until the record copy is sent to the IB. Once the application is transmitted to the IB, applicant(s), IB users and competent ISA users can access it through ePCT.

    The first step to be performed by the receiving Office is to check the content of each document and to make sure that the minimum filing requirements (Article 11, Rule 20, etc.) are fulfilled.

    Once the content is validated, forms related to the payment of fees or an invitation to correct defects are generated and sent, Office user can process each document (change its status from ‘Not yet processed’ to ‘Processed’) and then perform the action ‘Transmit Record Copy to IB’. At least the request form and the application body (description, claims, abstract) must be selected for transmittal to the IB. Office users might decide to keep some documents or forms for processing and transmittal at a later date.

    Yes. ePCT can be used to generate certain PCT forms, but only if bibliographic data of the IA is entered (either through electronic filing or manual input by the receiving Office). A set of commonly used PCT forms in different languages are available per Office capacity.

    The RO/105 form, and certain other forms, cannot be generated using ePCT until the bibliographic data for the application is entered in the system. If you attempt to create an RO/105 form before entering bibliographic data you should get an error message.

    To overcome this error, complete the bibliographic data and press the ‘Load Bibliographic Data’ button in the ‘Summary + Load Data’ tab. Once this is done the RO/105 form Action will become active.

    Under the section ‘DOCUMENTS’ of the IA, click the button ‘Upload’ and then:

    • Select your office capacity (e.g. RO)
    • Select the recipient (IB, ISA, IPEA or your office as RO)
    • Choose the Document type (i.e. the name of the document you would like to upload)
    • Click the button ‘Add Document’ to select the document you would like to upload. Depending on the selected document type, the required format(s) (PDF, ZIP, TXT, DOCX ) will be proposed
    Uploaded a document in an IA

    Once the file is attached, click the button Upload for validation and upload.

    Open the IA and select the action ‘Transmit Priority Doc(s) to IB’:

    • Select an existing priority claim
    • Choose the source (Provided by the applicant OR prepared and transmitted by RO)
    • Enter the date of receipt by the RO (if the document is provided by the applicant, otherwise the current date at the RO will be set by default and can’t be modified)
    • Attach the Priority Document (Scanned File in PDF Format i.e. should be A4 format, Black and White and has a resolution of 300 dpi minimum) and Click OK
    • Click the button Submit

    International Authorities (ISA/IPEA)-related questions

    Yes. Open the IA for which your Office is acting as ISA and select the action ‘Prepare International Search Report and/or Written Opinion’. You can choose either to prepare both forms ISR (ISA/210) and WOSA (ISA/237) at the same time or separately by reusing the same action. Both forms can be generated in different languages (not all languages are available yet).

    Yes. Other commonly used ISA forms are available in ePCT (e.g. ISA/202, ISA/203, ISA/216, ISA/217, ISA/220 and ISA/224). Some of these forms are available in different languages. The IB is continuously developing new features in ePCT allowing ISAs to generate new forms and making all forms available in different languages.

    Office users with ePCT-IPEA access role have the possibility to record Chapter II Demand and to generate the form IPEA/424. Additional ePCT actions and forms for IPEA can be developed upon request. Please do not hesitate to send your requirements to pct.eservices@wipo.int

    Designated / Elected Office-related questions

    Office users with ePCT-DO access role have the possibility to search and open any IA for which their Office is designated. Two ePCT DO actions are made available:

    • Notify National Phase Entry: it allows you to send to the IB, an indication that an IA has entered the national phase in your Office. Once you have successfully submitted a notification of national phase entry for a not yet published international application, the ePCT system allows all users from the same Office, who have ePCT-DO access role, to access immediately the IA. This function also gives you access to available documents which are not available through PATENTSCOPE, such as cited documents uploaded with a third party observation.
    • Notify National Phase Event: allows Designated Offices to record a notification about a national phase event. This action requires a National phase entry to be recorded first.

    DO Office users can upload only one document type ‘DO Document’ and choose IB as recipient

    More questions?

    If you couldn’t find an answer to your question on this page, please contact PCT eServices Team pct.eservices@wipo.int for support.

    Disclaimer: The questions and answers provided on this page serve a purely informative purpose and are not a legal point of reference. They do not necessarily represent the official position of WIPO or its member states.