March 2023 | No. 03/2023


Practical Advice

Automatic assignment of access rights when filing an international application via ePCT

Q.  I recently used ePCT for the first time to prepare a zip file for filing a PCT application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office as receiving Office (RO/US) in order to benefit from the many useful validations that are included in ePCT.  Although I downloaded the zip file from ePCT and successfully uploaded it to Patent Center of RO/US, after receiving Form PCT/IB/301 from the International Bureau (IB) to acknowledge receipt of the record copy, I realized that I do not have access rights to the application in ePCT.  It was my understanding that by uploading zip files created using ePCT I would automatically have access rights to the application in the ePCT system after the receiving Office had transmitted the record copy to the IB.  Why did this not happen in my case?

A.  It appears that, in this case, you have submitted a draft version of the zip file to the receiving Office (RO). Please note that, when you have completed your draft application in ePCT and are ready to download the zip file for filing with RO/US (the same process also applies for RO/CA and RO/IL), it is important to distinguish between two distinct download functions in ePCT-Filing.

First, it is possible to download a draft copy of the zip file prior to finalizing it, for example, to send for review to a colleague who is not using ePCT.  You can do this by using the function

‘Download draft copy - NOT FOR SUBMISSION [zip file]’ as shown below:

Download draft copy - NOT FOR SUBMISSION

It is important to NOT submit the draft zip file to the RO since it does not contain the complete ePCT bibliographic data package with all the necessary metadata which will have the result of automatically giving you access rights to the application in ePCT after the RO transmits the record copy to the IB.

In order to create and download the complete bibliographic data zip file that you need to be automatically assigned access rights when the IB receives the zip file from the RO, you must follow the ‘Review & create package’ process, as shown in the screenshots below.

  • First follow the steps to create the complete data package:
Data package
  • After the complete data package is ready, download it for submission to the receiving Office:
Download data package

Important:  When downloading the zip file, be sure to save it to a location from where you can easily retrieve it for submission to the receiving Office.  If you cannot find the zip file, you can download it again.  In this situation, if you re-open the application from your Workbench you will notice that the link to download a draft copy of the zip file has now been replaced with the link to download the zip file in the format required by the RO.

Download the zip file

Note:  After downloading the zip file containing the complete data package for submission, it is important to upload it to the receiving Office system as soon as possible to ensure that the results of the ePCT validations are still valid, since they are calculated based on the current date at the receiving Office.

In your case, since you appear to have uploaded to RO/US a draft zip file that did not contain the data necessary to automatically assign access rights, you now need to request access rights to the application in ePCT.  An overview of the process for requesting access rights, including a short video tutorial, is available at:


For further information about assigning and managing access in ePCT, see the “Practical Advice” published in the following issues of the PCT Newsletter:

No. 06/2016:  Requests for recording of changes under PCT Rule 92bis using ePCT: situations where access to the international application will be suspended, and the extent to which access will be blocked;

No. 11/2015:  Assignment by the agent of eViewer rights to the applicant when preparing and filing international applications using ePCT-Filing;

No. 04/2012:  Changing access rights in ePCT when there is a change of agent; and

No. 12/2022:  How to remove access rights in ePCT of a former employee and assign access rights to a new person.