Worldwide 19 May 2020

Rule changes in the PCT system for international patents

A number of amendments for international patent applications (PCT) will be implemented, among other things with the intention to improve the possibilities of making additions to a PCT application. This if the extension is in (has equivalent in) your priority application. The changes will take effect on July 1, 2020.

The most important amendments to the patent rules will be:

  • in the case of erroneously filed elements and parts in an international application, provisions to incorporate the correct elements or parts by reference;
  • provision of a legal basis for the transfer via the International Bureau (IB) of fees collected by one Office for the benefit of another Office;
  • a requirement for the International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) to copy certain documents from its file to the IB, which the IB would make available to the public on behalf of the elected Office;
  • provision of a legal basis for an Office to excuse delays in meeting a time limit due to the unavailability of any permitted electronic means of communication at that Office, such as unforeseen outages or scheduled maintenance; and
  • provision of a legal basis for the correction or addition of indications in the request provided for in PCT Rule 4.11 during the international phase.

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