Contingency Upload Service – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the new Contingency Upload Service?

The new Contingency Upload Service allows the applicant (or his or her agent) to upload PDF documents, including new international applications and/or post-filing documents, without having to create or sign in to a WIPO account.

A demonstration version of this Contingency Upload Service is also available for testing purposes only.

What is the purpose of the new service?

In view of the planned decommissioning of fax services at the International Bureau (IB), the Contingency Upload Service has been made available since the end of 2018.  Unlike fax services, it provides for the secure electronic transmission of documents, though without any of the additional benefits and validations offered by the ePCT system.  

This new service also aims at offering an alternative filing means in the unlikely event that ePCT is unavailable for technical reasons; hence, in this context, this new service is referred to as “Contingency Upload Service”. Additionally, it also provides an alternative means of submission of documents to the IB in cases where other means of communication with the IB are, from the perspective of the applicant, not desirable or eventually no longer available (such as fax services).

When will fax services at the IB not be available anymore?

Fax services will be continued until the end of 2019.  Fax services and the new Contingency Upload Service will therefore be available in parallel until the fax service is discontinued.

What are the conditions for using the Contingency Upload Service?

The applicant must provide a valid e-mail address to use the service and will then receive a link by e-mail to the indicated e-mail address to access the Contingency Upload Service.  After having submitted the document, the applicant will also receive an automatically generated e-mail confirming the upload of the document and the date and time of receipt at the IB.

In which situations should I use the Contingency Upload Service?

Please note that this new service has been developed primarily as a contingency measure in the event that the applicant needs to submit a document to the IB urgently, and the ePCT system is not available.  A direct link to the Contingency Upload Service, in its role as “contingency solution” will be available on the ePCT welcome page in the unlikely event of system unavailability. 

In addition, an applicant might also wish to use the Contingency Upload Service in urgent cases where he/she is not yet fully familiar with ePCT.  This could include cases where the applicant needs to urgently file a new international application with the receiving Office of the IB (RO/IB) and where the applicant has not yet started to use ePCT with strong authentication. It is recalled that without strong authentication, it is not possible to use ePCT to file a new application. 

Applicants are, however, strongly encouraged to use ePCT in preference to the Contingency Upload Service whenever possible, in particular, to benefit from pre-filled bibliographic data, where applicable, and the many business validations built in to the system. Subsequent processing is therefore both accelerated and possibly also more accurate. Creating a WIPO account for ePCT is simple and should take less than two minutes.  Adding a second authentication factor (SMS or standard one time password app) is also quick and easy and offers greater security and more options, including inspection of the full IB files and communication of documents to over 60 Offices as receiving Office (RO) or International Searching Authority (ISA)/International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) in addition to the IB.

Do I receive a fee reduction for filing an international application via the Contingency Upload Service?

Yes, but not the full fee reduction.  The applicant will receive a fee reduction of 100 Swiss francs for an electronic filing according to item 4(a) of the PCT Schedule of Fees.  In order to receive the 200 Swiss francs or 300 Swiss francs fee reduction according to item 4(b) or (c), as applicable to filing in partial/full character coded format, the applicant needs to use PCT-SAFE or ePCT

In what languages can I submit documents via the Contingency Upload Service?

The usual language regime at the IB applies.  For filing international applications with RO/IB, consult the PCT Applicant’s Guide, Annex CPDF, List of PCT, Paris Convention contracting states and members of WTO.  Any other general written communication to the IB should be in English or French (see PCT Rule 92.2).

If you wish to transmit communications to the IB in the language of the publication of the relevant application, this is only provided for if you use ePCT (see Section 104(c) of the PCT Administrative Instructions). 

Can the Contingency Upload Service be used to submit documents to another Office or Authority?

No. The Contingency Upload Service is only available for communications to the IB or RO/IB.

Who can submit documents?

Anyone can submit documents through the Contingency Upload Service, but in order for the IB or RO/IB to take action in relation to the submitted documents, the PCT signature requirements need to be complied with.  Signatures of the applicant or someone entitled to represent the applicant can be provided as a text string (alphanumeric) or scanned signature.

In which file formats can documents be submitted?

Documents can only be submitted in PDF (no other file format is permitted).  It is not possible to attach pre-conversion files.

Are there any other inconveniences of the Contingency Upload Service?

The Contingency Upload Service is, in a way, similar to simple fax transmission.  Only very limited validations will be made.  The applicant will not be able to access the file held by the IB or RO/IB.  The submission will also not be automatically indexed and incorporated into the file, which will result in slower processing of the submission and in a limited ability for the applicant to monitor the status of the file in real time in ePCT.

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