PA 01/2014: Filing the demand form electronically using ePCT

WARNING: Although the information which follows was correct at the time of original publication in the PCT Newsletter, some information may no longer be applicable; for example, amendments may have been made to the PCT Regulations and Administrative Instructions, as well as to PCT Forms, since the PCT Newsletter concerned was published; changes to certain fees and references to certain publications may no longer be valid. Wherever there is a reference to a PCT Rule, please check carefully whether the Rule in force at the date of publication of the advice has since been amended.

Q: I am the agent for a number of international applications and I regularly use ePCT to upload documents to the International Bureau (IB), rather than submitting them by fax or mail. However, I now need to file demands for international preliminary examination in respect of several applications, and wondered whether it is possible to file the demand using ePCT.

A: You can file a demand for international preliminary examination via ePCT by using the “Actions” function that is available in ePCT private services for completing and submitting the demand form electronically (note that, although by doing this you would not be submitting the demand directly to the International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA), PCT Rule 59.3 provides for the filing of the demand with the International Bureau (IB) for onward transmittal to the IPEA).

The “Actions” function allows you to carry out a wide range of actions in respect of applications for which you have eOwner or eEditor access rights. To see which actions can be performed on an international application, see the contents of the “Actions” tab on a sample international application, below:

Filing the demand form electronically using ePCT

The online action “Submit Chapter II Demand” facilitates the completion and submission of the demand form (PCT/IPEA/401). Not only will this action assist you by automatically completing the bibliographic data for an international application, but it will also carry out validations that will prevent you from making certain errors, for example:

– it will calculate the applicable time limit for submitting the demand, and will alert you if the time limit has expired (PCT Rule 54bis.1);

– it provides a list of the IPEAs that are competent to carry out international preliminary examination on your international application (PCT Rule 59);

– it calculates the applicable fees automatically.

It is also possible to add an agent specifically for the Chapter II procedure, and to attach (upload) certain accompanying items, for example, a power of attorney, by selecting “Attach File (Optional)”. If you have indicated that the basis for international preliminary examination is the international application ”as amended”, a new field will be displayed to indicate which part(s) of the application body have been amended, and a validation message will appear, prompting you to attach a copy of the amendments. You will also have to indicate the language of the application for the purposes of international preliminary examination (PCT Rule 55.2), and enter details relating to the payment of the fees to the IPEA, such as details of a deposit account held with the IPEA, if you have one. Otherwise, if you do not enter details of such a deposit account, your attention will be drawn to the fact that the fees will have to be paid separately to the IPEA.

The “Preview” button will allow you to preview the demand form in PDF format prior to submission. When the demand form has been successfully completed, it will need to be signed by an authorized person by way of either a text string signature or by attaching a facsimile signature (.jpg or .tif format). The demand will then be transmitted via ePCT private services to the IB and will be routed electronically by the IB to the competent IPEA for subsequent processing. The date of receipt of the demand by the IB will be recorded as the date of filing of the demand.

One of the advantages of using ePCT Actions in general, instead of using the “Upload Documents” function to submit such forms or requests for action in the form of PDF documents, is that the relevant bibliographic data is automatically filled in by the system. You can therefore avoid having to retype data, which, in turn, will also prevent transcription errors. Moreover, the actions have built-in validations relating to the relevant data fields to be completed and the applicable time limit for taking each action.
For information on creating a WIPO user account (needed for ePCT public and private services) and uploading a digital certificate (needed for ePCT private services), see:

http://www.wipo.int/pct/en/epct/pdf/epct_getting_started.pdf

and for detailed information on using ePCT, both public and private services, see the ePCT User Guide for Applicants and Third Parties at:

http://www.wipo.int/pct/en/epct/pdf/pct_wipo_accounts_user_guide.pdf

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