A new release of the ePCT system (version 4.4) was deployed on 5 December 2018, some of the new features of which are explained below.
ePCT for applicants
New features that have been added include:
- an external signature function for:
- signature of the request form when preparing filings for the United States Patent and Trademark Office as receiving Office (RO/US);
- declarations under PCT Rule 4.17(iv) (declaration of inventorship) prepared using ePCT at the time of filing (this means that inventors no longer need to prepare and sign copies outside of ePCT as long as they have an e‑mail address);
- powers of attorney prepared using ePCT at the time of filing; and
- mobile devices – a “hand-drawn signature” option has been added that allows you to sign with your finger/stylus in all cases except the above three cases when filing with RO/US (for which only the text signature option is available).
- an optional feature has been added to allow the applicant, when preparing a new application in ePCT for which the filing language is a non-English publication language, to provide a suggested English translation for the title of the invention and specific keywords or terms in the specification body deemed to be of particular relevance. Note that the International Bureau (IB) will take the suggested English translation into account but may not necessarily follow it when preparing the translation for the purposes of international publication;
- a dedicated link has been added that enables you, when preparing a new application in ePCT that contains drawings, to preview the drawings part of the application body as they will be rendered at the IB for processing and publication;
- a new Action is available to prepare and submit Form PCT/RO/134 (Indications Relating to Deposited Microorganism or Other Biological Material) post-filing;
- a dedicated link has been added to the PCT eServices Help page that points to a contingency upload service making it possible to upload PDF documents to the IB in the event that the ePCT system is unavailable and users are not able to sign in. A direct link to this service will also be available on the ePCT welcome page in the event of system unavailability, including the situation where the Help page cannot be accessed (for further information on this new service, please refer to “New Contingency Upload Service”); and
- a dedicated link has also been added to the PCT eServices Help page that allows you to look up the reference data, as held in real time in the IB database, that forms the basis of the extensive business validations performed by the ePCT system, such as Office profile information, Office closed dates and the PCT time limit calculator.
For more details on the above features and other new features which are not mentioned above, including other changes which affect applicants filing with the RO/US, please refer to “What’s new in ePCT for applicants” at:
ePCT for receiving Offices, designated Offices and International Authorities
Several new Office features and improvements based on feedback received from Office users have been added, including:
- the possibility to upload national phase entry data has been added to the drop down menu to enable the automatic upload of this information by users at Offices where this data is not transmitted by electronic data interchange (EDI);
- a new ePCT action for Offices has been created to allow the processing of ex officio corrections relating to the names and addresses of parties in text form to assist in the timeliness and accuracy of processing ex officio corrections;
- new IPC symbol management functions which improve the accuracy of publication in cases where the ISR will be established after the publication deadline;
- in cases where an invitation to pay additional fees and, where applicable, protest fee (PCT/ISA/206) has already been transmitted by the International Searching Authority (ISA), the ePCT Action to create the international search report and written opinion of the ISA has been improved to reuse, where applicable, the information already transmitted in that form.
For more details on the above features and other new features, and for general information on ePCT system for Offices, please see “ePCT for Authorities and Offices” at:
For questions about any of the new features of ePCT for applicants and for Offices, you can also contact the PCT eServices Help Desk at:
telephone: (+41–22) 338 9523
or, where Help Desk staff are available, enter your question via online Chat at: