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ePCT Business Continuity Service – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the ePCT Business Continuity Service?

The ePCT Business Continuity Service provides for the secure electronic transmission of documents, including the filing of international applications, if the ePCT system is unavailable for technical reasons, or if it is not possible to login to ePCT using the WIPO Accounts system. The Service guarantees business continuity since it is hosted in an entirely separate environment that does not include dependencies on the internal systems of the International Bureau (IB). It replaces the previous Contingency Upload Service.

A demonstration version of the ePCT Business Continuity Service is available for testing purposes only.  IMPORTANT - Do not upload any confidential data or documents using the demonstration version and be extremely careful not to use this version for submitting production cases.

In which situations should I use the ePCT Business Continuity Service?

Please note that this service has been developed primarily as a contingency measure in the event that the ePCT system is not available and that the applicant needs urgently to file a new application or submit a document to the IB. Similarly, if the WIPO Accounts service, which is required for login to ePCT, is unavailable although the ePCT system itself is operational, it is possible to use the ePCT Business Continuity Service.

The ePCT Business Continuity Service provides a limited range of benefits and validations offered by the ePCT system. For this reason, the Service is recommended to be used only when ePCT cannot be accessed for technical reasons and it should not be used routinely as an alternative to creating a WIPO Account with strong authentication and using the ePCT system.

However, it is recognized that applicants might resort to using the ePCT Business Continuity Service in urgent cases where they are not yet sufficiently familiar with the ePCT system but needs to file with the receiving Office of the IB (RO/IB) or another receiving Office. Please note that the system will only allow you to file with a receiving Office that is competent.

It should however be noted that creating a WIPO account for ePCT is simple and should take less than two minutes.  Adding a second authentication factor (SMS, standard one time password app or push notification) is also quick and easy and offers greater security and more options, including access to the complete file of the application held by the IB and communication of documents to over 80 Offices as receiving Office (RO) or International Searching Authority (ISA)/International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) in addition to the IB.

Please refer to Getting Started and the WIPO Account video tutorial for more information. 

What functions are available via the ePCT Business Continuity Service?

The ePCT Business Continuity Service allows applicants to file new international applications to the PCT receiving Offices that accept ePCT-Filing and also to prepare and download international applications for filing to the systems of receiving Offices that do not receive direct online filings via ePCT. The Service also provides for the upload of post-filing documents to the IB, including RO/IB.

How do I access the ePCT Business Continuity Service?

In the unlikely event of unavailability of the ePCT and/or WIPO Accounts systems, the landing page of the ePCT Business Continuity Service will be made available as an alternative in the usual place for ePCT login so that applicants can continue to file new international applications and upload documents to the IB.

The ePCT Business Continuity Service is available at https://pctcs.wipo.int.  Applicants are required to input a name and an email address, to which a link that is valid for 1 hour is sent. The same email address will be used to receive a receipt of electronic transmission confirming the date and time of receipt at the recipient Office. Note that post-filing documents can be submitted to the IB (including RO/IB) only.

Who can submit documents via the ePCT Business Continuity Service?

Anyone can file a new international application via the ePCT Business Continuity Service. However, in the case of post-filing documents uploaded for sending to the IB or RO/IB, PCT signature requirements need to be complied with. If the signature of the applicant or someone entitled to represent the applicant does not appear on the image of the PDF file that is submitted, it can be provided in the interface at the time of upload in the form of either a text string (alphanumeric) or scanned signature.

In which file formats can documents be submitted?

When filing a new international application, the file formats permitted are the same as in ePCT-Filing. In the case of post-filing documents, the only file format permitted is PDF, with the exception of the upload of sequence listings for which the usual formats apply under WIPO Standard ST.25 or ST.26, depending on the international filing date.

What are the main differences between ePCT-Filing and filing using the ePCT Business Continuity Service?

The majority of the features and business validations that are currently available in ePCT-Filing are replicated in the ePCT Business Continuity Service, with the exception of the following important differences: 

  • No assignment of ePCT access rights (you have to request access rights after receipt of Form PCT/IB/301)
  • Not possible to save drafts prior to submission
  • No Address Book access
  • No external signature feature
  • No DAS look-up
  • No automated ePCT Notification regarding time limit to file to maintain the priority claim.

Do I receive a fee reduction for filing an international application via the ePCT Business Continuity Service?

The same fee reductions apply as in ePCT-Filing. The applicant will receive the 200 Swiss francs or 300 Swiss francs fee reduction according to item 4(b) or (c) of the Schedule of Fees, depending on whether the description, claims and abstract are in character coded format.

How are documents subsequently handled after submission via the ePCT Business Continuity Service?

In the case of filing a new international application, the ePCT Business Continuity Service will first attempt to transmit the new application to the selected receiving Office’s main e-filing server. If that transmission is successful, an international application number will be attributed in the usual numbering range and the receiving Office will proceed to process the new application as per the usual process.

However, if the receiving Office’s main server is not available, the new application will be transmitted to the filing server of the ePCT Business Continuity Service, which will attribute an international application number in a specific numbering range, e.g., 99000. The date of receipt and international application number will be notified to you via an e-mail confirming the electronic transmittal and the IB will liaise with the receiving Office to pick up and process the application.

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