World Intellectual Property Organization

Regulations under the PCT

Rule 20
International Filing Date

20.1       Determination under Article 11(1)

(a)  Promptly after receipt of the papers purporting to be an international application, the receiving Office shall determine whether the papers fulfill the requirements of Article 11(1).

(b)  For the purposes of Article 11(1)(iii)(c), it shall be sufficient to indicate the name of the applicant in a way which allows the identity of the applicant to be established even if the name is misspelled, the given names are not fully indicated, or, in the case of legal entities, the indication of the name is abbreviated or incomplete.

(c)  For the purposes of Article 11(1)(ii), it shall be sufficient that the part which appears to be a description (other than any sequence listing part thereof) and the part which appears to be a claim or claims be in a language accepted by the receiving Office under Rule 12.1(a).

(d)  If, on October 1, 1997, paragraph (c) is not compatible with the national law applied by the receiving Office, paragraph (c) shall not apply to that receiving Office for as long as it continues not to be compatible with that law, provided that the said Office informs the International Bureau accordingly by December 31, 1997. The information received shall be promptly published by the International Bureau in the Gazette.2

20.2       Positive Determination under Article 11(1)

(a)  If the receiving Office determines that, at the time of receipt of the papers purporting to be an international application, the requirements of Article 11(1) were fulfilled, the receiving Office shall accord as the international filing date the date of receipt of the international application.

(b)  The receiving Office shall stamp the request of the international application which it has accorded an international filing date as prescribed by the Administrative Instructions. The copy whose request has been so stamped shall be the record copy of the international application.

(c)  The receiving Office shall promptly notify the applicant of the international application number and the international filing date. At the same time, it shall send to the International Bureau a copy of the notification sent to the applicant, except where it has already sent, or is sending at the same time, the record copy to the International Bureau under Rule 22.1(a).

20.3       Defects under Article 11(1)

(a)  Where, in determining whether the papers purporting to be an international application fulfill the requirements of Article 11(1), the receiving Office finds that any of the requirements of Article 11(1) are not, or appear not to be, fulfilled, it shall promptly invite the applicant, at the applicant’s option:

(i)  to furnish the required correction under Article 11(2);  or

(ii)  where the requirements concerned are those relating to an element referred to in Article 11(1)(iii)(d) or (e), to confirm in accordance with Rule 20.6(a) that the element is incorporated by reference under Rule 4.18;

and to make observations, if any, within the applicable time limit under Rule 20.7. If that time limit expires after the expiration of 12 months from the filing date of any application whose priority is claimed, the receiving Office shall call that circumstance to the attention of the applicant.

(b)  Where, following an invitation under paragraph (a) or otherwise:

(i)  the applicant furnishes to the receiving Office the required correction under Article 11(2) after the date of receipt of the purported international application but on a later date falling within the applicable time limit under Rule 20.7, the receiving Office shall accord that later date as the international filing date and proceed as provided in Rule 20.2(b) and (c);

(ii)  an element referred to in Article 11(1)(iii)(d) or (e) is, under Rule 20.6(b), considered to have been contained in the international application on the date on which one or more elements referred to in Article 11(1)(iii) were first received by the receiving Office, the receiving Office shall accord as the international filing date the date on which all of the requirements of Article 11(1) are fulfilled and proceed as provided in Rule 20.2(b) and (c).

(c)  If the receiving Office later discovers, or on the basis of the applicant’s reply realizes, that it has erred in issuing an invitation under paragraph (a) since the requirements of Article 11(1) were fulfilled when the papers were received, it shall proceed as provided in Rule 20.2.

20.4       Negative Determination under Article 11(1)

If the receiving Office does not receive, within the applicable time limit under Rule 20.7, a correction or confirmation referred to in Rule 20.3(a), or if a correction or confirmation has been received but the application still does not fulfill the requirements of Article 11(1), the receiving Office shall:

(i)  promptly notify the applicant that the application is not and will not be treated as an international application and shall indicate the reasons therefor;

(ii)  notify the International Bureau that the number it has marked on the papers will not be used as an international application number;

(iii)  keep the papers constituting the purported international application and any correspondence relating thereto as provided in Rule 93.1, and

(iv)  send a copy of the said papers to the International Bureau where, pursuant to a request by the applicant under Article 25(1), the International Bureau needs such a copy and specially asks for it.

20.5       Missing Parts

(a)  Where, in determining whether the papers purporting to be an international application fulfill the requirements of Article 11(1), the receiving Office finds that a part of the description, claims or drawings is or appears to be missing, including the case where all of the drawings are or appear to be missing but not including the case where an entire element referred to in Article 11(1)(iii)(d) or (e) is or appears to be missing, it shall promptly invite the applicant, at the applicant’s option:

(i)  to complete the purported international application by furnishing the missing part; or

(ii)  to confirm, in accordance with Rule 20.6(a), that the part was incorporated by reference under Rule 4.18;

and to make observations, if any, within the applicable time limit under Rule 20.7. If that time limit expires after the expiration of 12 months from the filing date of any application whose priority is claimed, the receiving Office shall call that circumstance to the attention of the applicant.

(b)  Where, following an invitation under paragraph (a) or otherwise, the applicant furnishes to the receiving Office, on or before the date on which all of the requirements of Article 11(1) are fulfilled but within the applicable time limit under Rule 20.7, a missing part referred to in paragraph (a) so as to complete the international application, that part shall be included in the application and the receiving Office shall accord as the international filing date the date on which all of the requirements of Article 11(1) are fulfilled and proceed as provided in Rule 20.2(b) and (c).

(c)  Where, following an invitation under paragraph (a) or otherwise, the applicant furnishes to the receiving Office, after the date on which all of the requirements of Article 11(1) were fulfilled but within the applicable time limit under Rule 20.7, a missing part referred to in paragraph (a) so as to complete the international application, that part shall be included in the application, and the receiving Office shall correct the international filing date to the date on which the receiving Office received that part, notify the applicant accordingly and proceed as provided for in the Administrative Instructions.

(d)  Where, following an invitation under paragraph (a) or otherwise, a part referred to in paragraph (a) is, under Rule 20.6(b), considered to have been contained in the purported international application on the date on which one or more elements referred to in Article 11(1)(iii) were first received by the receiving Office, the receiving Office shall accord as the international filing date the date on which all of the requirements of Article 11(1) are fulfilled and proceed as provided in Rule 20.2(b) and (c).

(e)  Where the international filing date has been corrected under paragraph (c), the applicant may, in a notice submitted to the receiving Office within one month from the date of the notification under paragraph (c), request that the missing part concerned be disregarded, in which case the missing part shall be considered not to have been furnished and the correction of the international filing date under that paragraph shall be considered not to have been made, and the receiving Office shall proceed as provided for in the Administrative Instructions.

20.6       Confirmation of Incorporation by Reference of Elements and Parts

(a)  The applicant may submit to the receiving Office, within the applicable time limit under Rule 20.7, a written notice confirming that an element or part is incorporated by reference in the international application under Rule 4.18, accompanied by:

(i)  a sheet or sheets embodying the entire element as contained in the earlier application or embodying the part concerned;

(ii)  where the applicant has not already complied with Rule 17.1(a), (b) or (b-bis) in relation to the priority document, a copy of the earlier application as filed;

(iii)  where the earlier application is not in the language in which the international application is filed, a translation of the earlier application into that language or, where a translation of the international application is required under Rule 12.3(a) or 12.4(a), a translation of the earlier application into both the language in which the international application is filed and the language of that translation; and

(iv)  in the case of a part of the description, claims or drawings, an indication as to where that part is contained in the earlier application and, where applicable, in any translation referred to in item (iii).

(b)  Where the receiving Office finds that the requirements of Rule 4.18 and paragraph (a) have been complied with and that the element or part referred to in paragraph (a) is completely contained in the earlier application concerned, that element or part shall be considered to have been contained in the purported international application on the date on which one or more elements referred to in Article 11(1)(iii) were first received by the receiving Office.

(c)  Where the receiving Office finds that a requirement under Rule 4.18 or paragraph (a) has not been complied with or that the element or part referred to in paragraph (a) is not completely contained in the earlier application concerned, the receiving Office shall proceed as provided for in Rule 20.3(b)(i), 20.5(b) or 20.5(c), as the case may be.

20.7       Time Limit

(a)  The applicable time limit referred to in Rules 20.3(a) and (b), 20.4, 20.5(a), (b) and (c), and 20.6(a) shall be:

(i)  where an invitation under Rule 20.3(a) or 20.5(a), as applicable, was sent to the applicant, two months from the date of the invitation;

(ii)  where no such invitation was sent to the applicant, two months from the date on which one or more elements referred to in Article 11(1)(iii) were first received by the receiving Office.

(b)  Where neither a correction under Article 11(2) nor a notice under Rule 20.6(a) confirming the incorporation by reference of an element referred to in Article 11(1)(iii)(d) or (e) is received by the receiving Office prior to the expiration of the applicable time limit under paragraph (a), any such correction or notice received by that Office after the expiration of that time limit but before it sends a notification to the applicant under Rule 20.4(i) shall be considered to have been received within that time limit.

20.8       Incompatibility with National Laws

(a)  If, on October 5, 2005, any of Rules 20.3(a)(ii) and (b)(ii), 20.5(a)(ii) and (d), and 20.6 are not compatible with the national law applied by the receiving Office, the Rules concerned shall not apply to an international application filed with that receiving Office for as long as they continue not to be compatible with that law, provided that the said Office informs the International Bureau accordingly by April 5, 2006. The information received shall be promptly published by the International Bureau in the Gazette.2

(a-bis)  Where a missing element or part cannot be incorporated by reference in the international application under Rules 4.18 and 20.6 because of the operation of paragraph (a) of this Rule, the receiving Office shall proceed as provided for in Rule 20.3(b)(i), 20.5(b) or 20.5(c), as the case may be. Where the receiving Office proceeds as provided for in Rule 20.5(c), the applicant may proceed as provided for in Rule 20.5(e).

(b)  If, on October 5, 2005, any of Rules 20.3(a)(ii) and (b)(ii), 20.5(a)(ii) and (d), and 20.6 are not compatible with the national law applied by the designated Office, the Rules concerned shall not apply in respect of that Office in relation to an international application in respect of which the acts referred to in Article 22 have been performed before that Office for as long as they continue not to be compatible with that law, provided that the said Office informs the International Bureau accordingly by April 5, 2006. The information received shall be promptly published by the International Bureau in the Gazette.2

(c)  Where an element or part is considered to have been incorporated by reference in the international application by virtue of a finding of the receiving Office under Rule 20.6(b), but that incorporation by reference does not apply to the international application for the purposes of the procedure before a designated Office because of the operation of paragraph (b) of this Rule, the designated Office may treat the application as if the international filing date had been accorded under Rule 20.3(b)(i) or 20.5(b), or corrected under Rule 20.5(c), as the case may be, provided that Rule 82ter.1(c) and (d) shall apply mutatis mutandis.

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2  Editor's Note: This information is also published on the WIPO website at: www.wipo.int/pct/en/texts/reservations/res_incomp.html.

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