PCT Highlights

The International Patent System

PCT recent and future developments

New PCT Contracting States

Mauritius (country code: MU)

On 15 December 2022, Mauritius deposited its instrument of accession to the PCT, thus becoming the 157th Contracting State of the PCT, and on 15 March 2023, Mauritius will become bound by the PCT.  Consequently, any international application filed on or after 15 March 2023 will automatically include the designation of Mauritius.

eGuide – new version of the PCT Applicant’s Guide

In order to increase data processing efficiency and provide users with enhanced functions and a better navigation experience, the International Bureau has created a fully electronic version of the PCT Applicant’s Guide, called the “eGuide”.  Applicants and Offices are encouraged to explore the functions of the new eGuide and please sent any suggestions.

PCT Working Group and PCT Committee for Technical Cooperation

The sixteenth session of the PCT Working Group will take place in remote format only, from February 6 to 8, 2023. The draft agenda and working documents are available.

The fifteenth session of the PCT Working Group and the thirty-second session of the PCT Committee for Technical Cooperation were both held in Geneva from 3 to 7 October 2022 in the form of a hybrid meeting. 

The PCT Working Group discussed inter alia:

The PCT Committee for Technical Cooperation recommended to the PCT Assembly:  

  • to appoint the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property as an International Searching and Preliminary Examining Authority (document PCT/CTC/32) under the PCT.

The Summary by the Chair and the working documents of the PCT Working Group are available.

For further information, please consult the PCT Newsletter 10/2022 PDF.

Amendments to the PCT Regulations on 1 July 2022

On 1 July 2022, the following amendments to the PCT Regulations (document PCT/A/53/3) and consequential modifications to other PCT Texts and Forms entered into force:

  • PCT Rules 5, 12, 13ter, 19 and 49: Implementing WIPO Standard ST.26 “Recommended Standard for the Presentation of Nucleotide and Amino Acid Sequence Listings using XML (eXtensible Markup Language)” in the PCT.  These amendments apply to any international application with an international filing date on or after 1 July 2022. 
  • PCT Rule 82quater: Strengthening safeguards for applicants and third parties in case of general disruption that affect meeting time limits under the Regulations (document PCT/WG/14/11).  These amendments apply to any time limit that expires on or after 1 July 2022.

For further information, please consult the PCT Newsletter 10/2021 PDF, 06/2022 PDF  and the meeting documents.

A PowerPoint presentation showing the amendments to the PCT Regulations is available.

WIPO Standard ST.26 went live on 1 July 2022

Following the migration to ST.26 for the disclosure of nucleotide and/or amino acid sequences for all patent applications (national, regional and PCT) having a filing date on or after 1 July 2022, an article which explains why the standard was changed, what changed, how to generate ST.26‑compliant sequence listings, how to file a PCT application containing a sequence listing and the applicability of the new Standard to priority applications, has been published. Further information regarding implementing WIPO ST.26 is available on Filing Sequence Listings under ST.26.

Accession to Paris Convention

Cabo Verde (country code:  CV)

On 6 April 2022, Cabo Verde deposited its instrument of accession to the Paris Convention and since 6 July 2022 Cabo Verde is bound by the Paris Convention, thus bringing the total number of States party to that Convention to 179.  Under PCT Rule 4.10(a), it is possible to claim in an international application the priority of one or more earlier applications filed in in a country party to the Paris Convention or in, or for, any Member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Cabo Verde is already a member of the WTO.

Regional Patent Treaties: ARIPO

Cabo Verde (country code:  CV)

On 14 July 2022, Cabo Verde deposited its instrument of accession to the Harare Protocol on Patents and Industrial Designs within the Framework of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO).  Therefore, it is expected that, with effect from 14 October 2022, the Harare Protocol will enter into force with respect to Cabo Verde. This means that expectedly any international application filed on or after 14 October 2022 will include the designation of Cabo Verde for an ARIPO patent, as well as for a national patent.

Regional Patent Treaties: EPO

Montenegro deposited its instrument of accession to the European Patent Convention (EPC) on 15 July 2022, and will become bound by that Convention on 1 October 2022.  This brings the number of Contracting States of the EPC to 39.  Therefore, any international application filed on or after 1 October 2022 includes the designation of Montenegro for a European patent. Furthermore, as from 1 October 2022, it also is possible for nationals and residents of Montenegro to file international applications with the European Patent Office (EPO) as receiving Office.

The extension agreement between Montenegro and the EPO terminated with the entry into force of the EPC in Montenegro on 1 October 2022.  The extension system will, however, continue to apply to European and international applications filed prior to 1 October 2022, as well as to European patents granted in respect of such applications.

New ISA/IPEA

Following the appointment of the Eurasian Patent Office as an International Searching and Preliminary Examining Authority under the PCT (document PCT/A/53/1), the Authority started its operation on 1 July 2022.

PCT and IP data reports 2022

The PCT Yearly Review 2022 is available. The special theme this year is “How the COVID‑19 crisis affected PCT filings”.

The World Intellectual Property Indicators 2022: This report analyzes IP activity around the globe. Drawing on 2021 filing, registration and renewals statistics from national and regional IP offices and WIPO, it covers patents, utility models, trademarks, industrial designs, microorganisms, plant variety protection and geographical indications. The report shows that global intellectual property filings for patents, trademarks and designs reached new heights in 2021, showing the resilience of the global innovation ecosystem during the COVID-19 pandemic. For highlights of the report, please consult the press release.

This year’s Global Innovation Index 2022,  providing performance measures and ranking 132 economies on their innovation ecosystems, is available now (consult for more information).

PCT Success Stories

Do you have a PCT success story that you would like to share with us? If so, you can now share your story with WIPO and other users of the PCT about how the PCT helped you to seek protection for your invention. WIPO will highlight a selection of the submitted success stories on the PCT website and on WIPO social media. For further information, consult the dedicated webpage on PCT Success Stories.

WIPO 2021 PCT User Survey

In order to regularly assess customer satisfaction with all aspects of the PCT, WIPO has conducted its biennial survey of the user community in December 2021.  WIPO thanks all PCT Users having participated in the survey and will post a summary of the feedback received on the PCT Website.  An archive of previous surveys is available. 

Overview Video on the PCT: Seeking Patent Protection Beyond Borders

This new PCT overview video  Video (available on the PCT website in 10 PCT publication languages) is intended for business owners, individual inventors and students. Patent attorneys may likewise use the video to help inform clients about their choices for seeking patent protection in foreign countries.

Similarly, pages for new users on Welcome to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and a PCT Summary for New Users are available.

Meeting of International Authorities (MIA)

The 29th session of the Meeting of International Authorities took place from June 20 to 22, 2022 in Geneva as a virtual meeting. The meeting documents and the Summary by the Chair are available.

ePCT and electronic filing update

Interesting features of the many recent ePCT releases include an external signature function (see video Video) and a navigation bar for WIPO’s IP Portal.  In 2021, WIPO introduced a new payment platform for the online payment of certain PCT-related fees and other fees payable to WIPO and created a new landing page “WIPO Pay” as well as deployed a new ePCT-landing page.  “Bank payment online (secured by SOFORT)” as a new payment method has been added recently.

Contingency Upload Service is available as an alternative mode of communication at the International Bureau to the limitation of fax services to emergency situations by 1 January 2020 (in particular, for the rare cases that ePCT is unavailable) (further information is available on the Contingency Upload Service and on limited fax services PDF).

The following Offices now accept international applications filed using the ePCT-Filing function in ePCT:  Offices accepting ePCT-Filing

ePCT has best-in-class validation features – all data checks are made against the International Bureau’s database at the time of preparation of the application. To access the ePCT System or read more about the new features for applicants and patent Offices PDF.  Push notification as a new method for strong authentication was added in April 2022.  A series of new ePCT video tutorials for IP Offices and applicants is now available.

Since 1 July 2021, RO/IB no longer accepts electronic filing with PCT-SAFE.  Since 1 July 2022, the IB stopped the development, distribution and support for PCT-SAFE, see PCT Newsletter 07-08/2021 PDF.  The only remaining Offices accepting PCT-SAFE filings are RO/KR and RO/US.  The International Bureau strongly encourages all current PCT-SAFE users to transition as soon as possible to the ePCT platform for preparing, filing and managing PCT applications which has a multitude of advantages over PCT-SAFE.  ePCT experts at the International Bureau are available to assist you.

Technical aspects and reference data for electronic filing and managing PCT applications and settings at participating Offices, in particular, detailed Office profiles are available. Office profiles are not limited to Offices accepting ePCT-filing.  

Reminders

Learn the PCT video series and Podcast

A series of 29 short videos (approximately 15 minutes each) presented by Matthias Reischle-Park, Deputy Director, PCT Legal and User Relations Division, WIPO [YouTube] (with subtitles available for a growing number of videos in Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Russian, a full version in Japanese and also a Portuguese-subtitled version prepared by INPI Brazil and an Arabic-subtitled version prepared by the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP)). This series is:

  • designed to provide a basic introduction to important aspects and issues in the international phase and national phase of PCT processing; and
  • closely follows material covered during basic PCT training seminars and will be particularly useful for those who have not attended such seminars in person, for small and medium-sized enterprises, and for PCT users and potential users in developing and least-developed countries.

A webpage with links to a collection of 15 (free of charge) recordings (and associated materials) carried out by US-based PCT expert and WIPO consultant Carl Oppedahl as part of an external webinar series is also available.

A Podcast of potential interest to experienced PCT users on “Taking the Complexity Out of PCT”, featuring an interview of Matthew Bryan, Director of the PCT Legal and User Relations Division of WIPO, on the “AUTM on the Air” podcast (AUTM is formerly the Association for University Technology Managers). Listen to the interview at Stitcher, Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

PCT Webinars

  • PCT Webinars are used to deliver PCT information, training and updates in ten languages free of charge; recorded webinars are available at PCT Webinars; a special series of webinars: “Exploring the PCT”, with an advanced PCT audience in mind, began in April 2021 in all 10 PCT publication languages.
  • WIPO will be pleased to organize private PCT seminar for your company or firm; for seminars open to the public, please consult the PCT Seminar Calendar. PCT presentations within the context of Roving Webinars on all WIPO Services and Initiatives were added in May 2020 and Advanced Webinars with regional focus in October/November 2020.

Launch of WIPO IP Diagnostics 2021

As part of WIPO’s on-going effort to strengthen its program of support for the business sector, WIPO launched, in collaboration with the International Trade Center (ITC) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), its newest online resource, WIPO IP Diagnostics (further information on the launch is available). WIPO IP Diagnostics is a free, self-assessment tool designed to help small businesses identify their IP assets and determine how to protect, manage and leverage these assets to unlock new commercial opportunities.

Introductory PCT Distance learning course

  • The DL101PCT 4 hour course provides an introduction and general overview of PCT; it is complemented with self-assessment tools that are strategically placed throughout the course to measure understanding and progress and it is available in ten languages. 

Supplementary International Search

  • Requesting one or more supplementary international searches (SIS), during the international phase procedure, expands both the linguistic and technical scope of the search
  • SIS addresses PCT applicants’ concerns about new prior art being found once they have already entered the national phase and provides extra information in cases where the applicant believes that the commercial value of an invention warrants the additional expense in the international phase.
  • Get an introduction into SIS by a short video Video or the relevant part of the Applicant’s Guide.

The PATENTSCOPE database

DAS

The WIPO Digital Access Service (DAS) is an electronic system allowing priority documents and similar documents to be securely exchanged between participating intellectual property (IP) offices, including for PCT purposes (further information). DAS is generally free of charge and simplifies providing priority documents previously exchanged by paper. Many Offices joined DAS recently (consult WIPO DAS News).

PCT-Patent Prosecution Highway Pilot (PCT-PPH)

PCT-PPH pathways enable applicants to request a fast track examination procedure.

  • 50 per cent of overall PPH is PCT-PPH.
  • Data from selected Offices show that PCT-PPH requests have a higher grant rate and a higher first Office action allowance rate than all applications combined. The average pendency rate from the PCT-PPH request to final decision less than for all applications combined consult JPO PPH webpage: and the PCT Yearly Review 2022 PDF, C28
  • Further available: video on user experience, Carl Oppedahl [YouTube].

More about other worksharing initiatives among Offices.

WIPO GREEN

A platform that matches owners of environmentally sound technologies (ESTs) with those seeking licensing or partnership agreements. Listing your ESTs in the WIPO GREEN platform is free of charge and offers a practical additional means for seeking potential licensees or partners.

WIPO Arbitration & Mediation Center

Gives 25% reduction in the registration and administration fees for its alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services where at least one party to the dispute has been named as an applicant or inventor in a published PCT application (PCT Newsletter, June 2012, page 8PDF).

WIPO Inventor Assistance Program

The WIPO Inventor Assistance Program (IAP) aims at matching developing country inventors and small businesses with patent attorneys providing pro bono legal assistance.

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