Number of Offices Allowing Electronic Filing of International Patent Applications Grows

Geneva, October 17, 2006
Press Updates UPD/2006/280

Applicants in a number of countries are now able to file an international patent application electronically through their national or regional patent office. This is now possible in Australia, Denmark, the European Patent Office (EPO), Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States of America for applicants under the World Intellectual Property Organization's (WIPO) Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) taking advantage of the PCT-SAFE ("Secure Applications Filed Electronically") system. Companies and inventors seeking patent protection in multiple countries have been able to electronically file their international application with WIPO as receiving office since February 2004.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the most recent office to adapt its electronic filing software to facilitate the filing of PCT applications. On October 14th, the USPTO expanded EFS-Web, the USPTO's web-based patent application and document submission solution, to allow the inclusion of bibliographic data produced by PCT-SAFE (PCT EASY .ZIP compressed files).

Specifically, users are now able to file a new international application under the PCT and a wide range of other correspondence relating to a previously filed international application under the PCT with the United States receiving office, the United States International Searching Authority and the United States International Preliminary Examining Authority.

The USPTO's web-based patent application and document submission solution (EFS-Web) now allows users to attach a PCT request form in pdf format or as a .zip file created using WIPO's PCT-SAFE software with their EFS-Web submission.

Electronic filing with the US PCT receiving office offers PCT applicants significant benefits, including:

  • Fee reductions in certain cases (please see fee schedule at;
  • Reduced printing, copying and mailing costs of applications;
  • Almost immediate notification that their application has been received and is being processed;
  • Secure transmission of international applications.

According to USPTO, in just 6 months from being declared operational, the EFS-Web electronic filing option has increased the national electronic filing rate from 1.5% of new applications under the previous software (EFS-ABX) to 33% under the new system. Features that make the EFS-Web popular include document encoding in simple pdf, automated forms that can be auto-loaded into USPTO systems, almost round-the-clock availability and the ability to view one's submitted documents in the office's PAIR (USPTO's secure web-based means of electronically viewing the status of and documents for one's patent applications) system within an hour of filing.

For further information, please contact the Media Relations and Public Affairs Section at WIPO:

  • Tel: (+41 22) 338 81 61 or (+41 22) 338 95 47;
  • E-mail:
  • Fax: (+41 22) 338 82 80.