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PCT Receiving Office Guidelines

Chapter VI: Article 14 Check and Other Formal Requirements

Agent, Common Representative and Address for Correspondence

117. Only a person who has the right to practice before the receiving Office may be appointed and indicated as agent in Box No. IV of the request. Depending on the national law applicable, the agent may be a natural person, a legal entity, or a firm or partnership that is not a legal entity. Where the person indicated as agent in Box No. IV does not have the right to practice before the receiving Office, the receiving Office deletes ex officio the checkbox “agent” and marks instead the checkbox “address for correspondence”. If the person indicated in Box No. IV as an agent has also signed the request in Box No. X, the receiving Office also deletes ex officio the signature in Box No. X and invites the applicant to furnish the missing signature (Form PCT/RO/106, see also paragraph 123). The receiving Office notifies the applicant accordingly (Form PCT/RO/146, see also paragraph 165). Where one of the applicants is appointed as common representative that applicant must be entitled to file an international application (that is, that applicant must be a national or resident of a Contracting State); such applicant may be so appointed only if no agent has been appointed by all the applicants (that is, if there is no “common agent”) (Rule 90.2(a)). Regarding signature requirements, see paragraphs 122 to 125A.

117A. The appointment of an agent or common representative may be effected by the applicant signing the request or a separate power of attorney (Rule 90.4(a)). The appointment of an agent may also be effected by referring in the request, or a separate notice, to a general power of attorney (that is, an existing separate power of attorney appointing that agent to represent the applicant in relation to any international application which may be filed by that applicant) (Rule 90.5). The original of such general power of attorney must be deposited with the receiving Office (that is, it must either have already been deposited with that Office or it must accompany the international application) and a copy of it must accompany the request or separate notice (Rule 90.5(a)).  

117B. The receiving Office may waive the requirement that a separate power of attorney be submitted to it (Rule 90.4(d)), or that a copy of a general power of attorney is attached to the request (Rule 90.5(c)). The receiving Office may therefore not require the applicant to submit a separate power of attorney, or a copy of a general power of attorney, or may waive this requirement only for certain cases. Any waiver by a receiving Office is notified to the International Bureau and is published in the Official Notices (PCT Gazette) (Sections 336 and 433). To the extent that the receiving Office has waived the requirement of submission of a separate power of attorney, Rule 90.4(c) shall not apply. Nevertheless, if the applicant submits a power of attorney, the receiving Office should check for any defects and, where applicable, bring such defects to the attention of the applicant before it forwards a copy of the submitted separate power of attorney or a copy of the submitted copy of the general power of attorney to the International Bureau and the International Searching Authority (Form PCT/RO/123). Regarding signature requirements, see paragraphs 122 to 125A.

117C. Where the agent or the common representative submits any notice of withdrawal of the international application, of designations, or of priority claims (Rule 90bis.1 to 90bis.3), the agent or the common representative has to submit, in case he has not done so before, a separate power of attorney, or a copy of the general power of attorney, since the requirement to submit a separate power of attorney, or a copy of the general power of attorney, may not be waived under Rule 90.4(e) and 90.5(d).

118. For the manner of indicating names and addresses, see Rule 4.4 (paragraphs 79 to 81 and 85). Where one of the applicants is appointed as common representative, the address indicated in Box No. IV of the request for that applicant may differ from the address indicated for that same applicant in Box No. II or III of the request. The check-box “Address for Correspondence” should only be marked if neither an agent nor a common representative has been appointed. For ex officio corrections, see paragraphs 161 to 165.

119. Where the receiving Office receives a separate document containing the appointment (power of attorney), or the revocation or renunciation of the appointment, of an agent or a common representative, it checks whether that document is signed (Rule 90.4(a)) and complies with Rule 4.4. It notifies (Form PCT/RO/123) the International Bureau and the International Searching Authority and transmits a copy of that document to them. If the record copy and/or search copy have not yet been transmitted, the receiving Office transmits a copy of the power of attorney, or document containing the revocation or renunciation of an appointment, with the record copy and/or search copy (Section 328(b)). Where a change concerning the agent or common representative (for example, the person, the name or the address) is to be recorded, the receiving Office notifies (Form PCT/RO/123) the International Bureau accordingly (Section 328).

120. Where the receiving Office has not waived the requirement for a submission of a power of attorney and the receiving Office does not recognize that document as a valid power of attorney (for example, where power of attorney is not signed properly or where the document is otherwise defective), the receiving Office notifies (Form PCT/RO/124) the applicant, or, in case of a renunciation, the agent, of any defect and of the fact that the document containing the appointment, revocation or renunciation is considered non-existent until the defect is corrected (Rules 90.4(c) and 90.6(e)). If the defect is corrected, the procedure outlined in the preceding paragraph applies.

120A. Where the agent is registered with the national Office acting as the receiving Office, the number or other indication under which the agent is so registered may be indicated (Rule 4.7(b)).

121. Further references to agents and common representatives are made in these Guidelines, in particular, in the following paragraphs: paragraph 9 (meaning of “applicant”), paragraphs 23 to 26 (correspondence intended for the applicant), paragraph 75A (form of the request), paragraph 81 (address), paragraph 96 (deceased applicant), paragraphs 122 to 125A (signature), paragraphs 126 to 128 (signature for legal entity); paragraph 192C (declarations), paragraphs 309 to 312 (recording of changes).