WIPO Launches Full Electronic Processing of PCT Applications

Geneva, July 6, 2005
Press Updates UPD/2005/256

International patent applications filed under the World Intellectual Property Organization's Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and received from the PCT receiving offices in the Republic of Korea and Finland will now be processed in a fully electronic manner. This step represents a significant advance over the partial electronic funtionality already in operation within the PCT following the introduction of electronic filing of international patent applications under the PCT at the European Patent Office, Japan and a number of other offices. WIPO will gradually deploy full electronic processing of applications received from other PCT receiving offices in the coming months.

"The move to electronic processing by WIPO is expected to facilitate longer-term efficiency gains and improved services at WIPO, including an online file inspection service, by building up a comprehensive database of PCT-related documents in electronic form," said Mr. Francis Gurry, Deputy Director General who oversees the Office of the PCT.

Electronic processing means that no paper file will be established at WIPO. Record copies and all subsequent documents for these applications will either be scanned on receipt (if received on paper) or loaded directly into an electronic dossier (E-dossier) if received electronically.

Full electronic processing began on 20 June 2005 for PCT applications received from the Korean Intellectual Property Office with an international application number of PCT/KR2005/001400 and beyond, and on 4 July 2005, for PCT applications received from the National Board of Patents and Registration of Finland. This service will continue to be progressively extended to all international applications received at WIPO from all 102 PCT receiving offices.

The PCT is the cornerstone of the international patent system and offers a rapid, flexible and cost-effective way to obtain patent protection in the 126 countries that have signed up to the system. It provides inventors and industry an advantageous route for obtaining patent protection internationally. By filing one "international" patent application under the PCT, protection of an invention can be sought simultaneously in each of a large number of countries.

Both applicants and patent offices of PCT member states benefit from the uniform formality requirements, the international search and preliminary examination reports, and the centralized international publication provided by the PCT system. The national patent granting procedure and the related expenses are postponed, in the majority of cases, by up to 18 months (or even longer in the case of some offices) as compared with the traditional patent system. By this time, the applicant will have received important value-added information concerning the likelihood of obtaining patent protection as well as potential commercial interest in that invention.

For more information please contact the Media Relations & Public Affairs Section at WIPO (telephone: (41-22) 338 81 61 or 338 95 47; facsimile: (41-22) 338 82 80; e-mail: publicinf@wipo.int).