PCT Receiving Office Guidelines

Chapter VI: Article 14 Check and Other Formal Requirements


122. The receiving Office checks whether the international application is signed as provided for in the Regulations (Article 14(1)(a)(i)); the relevant provisions are contained in Rules 2.1, 4.1(d), 4.15, 90.4(a), 90.5(a)(ii) and 90.6(d). The request must be signed by all applicants (Rule 4.15) or, on their behalf, by an appointed agent or appointed common representative for whom a power of attorney signed by all applicants is submitted. However, if there is more than one applicant, it shall be sufficient, for the purposes of Article 14(1)(a)(i), that the request be signed by one of them. The applicant signing does not have to be an applicant entitled to file with the receiving Office (Rule 26.2bis(a)). In this case, the receiving Office should not invite the applicant to furnish missing signatures under Rule 26.1.

122A. In case the request is signed by an agent and where the receiving Office has waived the requirement of a separate power of attorney or of a copy of a general power of attorney, it does not check further the signature requirements in this case. The same applies in respect of the appointment of a common representative. If that agent also signs in Box X the signature requirements under Article 14(1) have been fulfilled since he signed the application on behalf of the applicants. A notice of withdrawal, however, has to be signed by or on behalf of all applicants (Rule 90bis.5, paragraphs 117C and 314).

123. Where the signature requirement is not fulfilled to the extent indicated in paragraph 122, the receiving Office invites (Form PCT/RO/106) the applicant, under Article 14(1)(b) and Rule 26, to correct the defect by sending, together with the invitation to correct, a copy of the relevant sheet of the request, to be returned by the applicant after affixing thereto the prescribed signature(s) (Section 316). Where not all requirements relating to the signature of the international application as outlined in paragraphs 124 to 128 are complied with, see paragraphs 153 to 159.

124. Request Signed by Agent or Common Representative. Where the request is signed by an agent or common representative, the appointment of that agent or common representative must be valid. The agent must have the right to practice before the receiving Office concerned in accordance with Rule 90.1. An appointed common representative must be a national or resident of a Contracting State (paragraph 117). A power of attorney appointing the agent or the common representative must be signed by each applicant who is to be represented; the original of such power(s) of attorney should be filed with the international application, unless the receiving Office has waived this requirement under Rule 90.4(d) (paragraphs 117B and 117C) (Rule 90.5(c)).

125. Where the agent is appointed in a general power of attorney deposited with the receiving Office (paragraph 117A), that power must similarly be signed by each applicant who is named therein. However, the copy of such power which must be filed with the international application, unless the receiving Office has waived this requirement under Rule 90.5(c) (paragraph 117B), need not itself be separately signed (Rule 90.5(a)(ii)).

125A. If the power of attorney (including an original general power of attorney) is not signed, or if a required power of attorney is missing or is not signed, or if the name and address of the appointed person does not comply with Rule 4.4 the power of attorney is considered non existent (Rule 90.4(c)). Similarly, the appointment of an agent is not considered to have been effected in a general power of attorney if the original of such power has not been deposited with the receiving Office or if the international application is not accompanied by a copy of such power, unless the receiving Office has waived this requirement under Rule 90.5(c) (paragraph 117B). In any of these cases, the international application is considered not to have been signed and the receiving Office invites (Form PCT/RO/106) the applicant to correct the defect under Rule 26.

126. Authorization to Sign on Behalf of a Legal Entity. Where the applicant is a legal entity, the request or the power of attorney must be signed by a person entitled to act on behalf of that entity, and an indication of the name of and the capacity in which that person signs must be made. Where an individual is an applicant and at the same time acts on behalf of a legal entity which is also an applicant, a single signature is sufficient, provided that an indication is made that the person signs in both capacities.

127. If an individual signs the international application in the name of a legal entity (and not as an appointed agent), the receiving Office should, in ordinary circumstances, not require further evidence of the person’s right to sign for the applicant. The receiving Office may apply relevant provisions of the national law when deciding whether the mere indication of a certain capacity (such as “president,” “secretary,” etc.) is sufficient or whether the applicant should be invited to furnish evidence. In ordinary circumstances, however, an indication that the person signs as an “authorized signatory” for the applicant concerned is sufficient. If it is not clear from the wording of the request whether the signatory has signed the request as an authorized signatory of the applicant rather than as an appointed agent, the receiving Office should seek clarification.

128. A person who signs the request in the capacity of an authorized signatory for a legal entity may, in principle, and provided he or she has the right to practice before the receiving Office, appoint himself or herself as an agent by indicating his or her own name in Box No. IV of the request. While such a practice is unusual, there may be sound reasons why the applicant might choose to follow it, for example, where there are two or more applicants and it is desired that the person concerned be appointed as common agent for all the applicants, in addition to being an authorized signatory for one of them, or if it is desired that a number of persons, including the signatory, be appointed as common agents.

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