PCT Highlights

The International Patent System

PCT recent and future developments

Meeting of International Authorities (MIA)

The 27th session of the Meeting of International Authorities will take place from February 6 to 7, 2020 in Gatineau Canada. The draft agenda and meeting documents are now available.

New PCT Contracting State

Samoa (country code:  WS)

On 2 January 2020, the PCT entered into force in Samoa as the 153rd Contracting State of the PCT.  Consequently, any international application filed on or after 2 January 2020 automatically includes the designation of Samoa.  Also, because Samoa is bound by Chapter II of the PCT, it is automatically elected in any demand filed in respect of an international application filed on or after 2 January 2020.  Furthermore, nationals and residents of Samoa are entitled, as of 2 January 2020, to file international applications under the PCT.

Assembly of the PCT Union

The 51st session of the Assembly of the PCT Union (PCT Assembly) agreed to the following amendments to the PCT Regulations to enter into force on 1 July 2020:

  • in the case of erroneously filed elements and parts in an international application, provisions to incorporate by reference the correct elements or parts;
  • provision of a legal basis for the transfer via the International Bureau (IB) of fees collected by one Office for the benefit of another Office;
  • a requirement for the International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) to copy certain documents from its file to the IB, which the IB would make available to the public on behalf of the elected Office;
  • provision of a legal basis for an Office to excuse delays in meeting a time limit due to the unavailability of any permitted electronic means of communication at that Office, such as unforeseen outages or scheduled maintenance; and
  • provision of a legal basis for the correction or addition of indications in the request provided for in PCT Rule 4.11 during the international phase.

Further information is available in the PCT Newsletter October 2019, 10/2019PDF.

Launch of the WIPO IP Portal

On September 17, 2019,WIPO launched its new IP Portal, a one-stop shop which integrates a full range of WIPO IP services, including ePCT (more about ePCT for Applicants and Third Parties and ePCT for Authorities and Offices); further reading: PCT Newsletter No. 09/2019.

Amendments to the PCT Regulations (July 1, 2019)

On 1 July 2019, the amendment to PCT Rule 69.1(a), adopted by the 50th session of the PCT Assembly, entered into force. The amendments allow the International Preliminary Examining Authority to start international preliminary examination for any demand filed on, or after, 1 July 2019 once it is in possession of:

  • the demand for international preliminary examination;
  • the relevant fees;
  • either the international search report or the declaration by the International Searching Authority under PCT Article 17(2)(a); and the written opinion established under PCT Rule 43bis.1

unless the applicant expressly requests to postpone the start of the international preliminary examination until the expiration of the applicable time limit under PCT Rule 54bis.1(a).

The PCT Yearly Review, 2019 edition

The 2019 edition of the PCT Yearly Review summarizes PCT activities and developments in 2018.

In brief, international patent applications grew by 3.9% to 253,000 in 2018.  Applicants based in the United States of America maintained their number one ranking, followed very closely by China.

The top 5 countries of origin for the year were:

  • United States (56,142; 22.2%)
  • China (53,345; 21.1%)
  • Japan (49,702; 19.6%)
  • Germany (19,883; 7.9%)
  • Republic of Korea (17,014; 6.7%)

The special theme this year is “40 years of the Patent Cooperation Treaty” and analyzes the long‑term filing trends for the international and national phases of the PCT since 1978.

For further information consult PCT Yearly Review 2019; press release March 2019; Press Conference.

World Intellectual Property Indicators 2019

The WIPO’s World Intellectual Property Indicators reports on intellectual property activity worldwide in 2018.  For an overview, please refer to the report’s press release; please also note also that WIPO’s IP Statistics Data Center and the Statistical Country Profiles.  

World Intellectual Property Report 2019

The 2019 edition of WIPO’s World Intellectual Property Report – “The Geography of Innovation: Local Hotspots, Global Networks” looks at how the geography of innovation has evolved over the past few decades.  Analyzing millions of patent and scientific publication records spanning over five decades, the 2019 edition of the report presents findings related to the creation of innovative hot spots and the cross-border interplay among them.  For further information, consult press release.

PCT Working Group

The twelfth session of the PCT Working Group took place from June 11 to June 14, 2019. The meeting documents and the Summary, prepared by the Chair of the Meeting, and the Report are now available.

PCT Collaborative search and examination: third pilot launched 1 July 2018

On 1 July 2018, the operational phase of the third pilot was launched and is expected to run for at least three years; for further general information and for information on the current acceptance of requests at the respective Offices see Collaborative Search and Examination (and document PCT/WG12/15).

ePCT update

Interesting features of the many recent ePCT releases include an external signature function (see video Video) and a navigation bar for WIPO’s new IP Portal.

A new Contingency Upload Service was released in 2018 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:

See list of Offices accepting ePCT-Filing.

ePCT has the 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.


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 between January and June 2019 shows that PPH requests have an approximately 15% to 65% higher grant rate and an approximately 10% to 35% higher first Office action allowance rate than all applications combined. The average pendency rate from the PPH request to final decision was between approximately 8 and 33 months less than for all applications combined:  consult JPO PPH webpage:  consult also Yearly Review 2019 PDF, C26
  • Further available: video on user experience, Carl Oppedahl [YouTube].

More about other worksharing initiatives among Offices.


Learn the PCT video series

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] (also available Portuguese-subtitled version prepared by INPI Brazil and 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.

Introductory PCT Distance learning course

The DL101PCT 4 hours 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.

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.

In‑house seminars on the PCT with WIPO’s participation are available; for seminars open to the public consult the PCT Seminar Calendar.

Supplementary International Search

Requesting one or more supplementary international searches (SIS), during the PCT procedure, expands both the linguistic and technical scope of the search PPT

  • SIS addresses PCT applicants’ concerns about new prior art being found once they have already incurred significant costs and 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.

The PATENTSCOPE search engine

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).


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 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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PCT Highlights – High-level overview of recent and future developments in the PCT. 1-2 per year.

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