World Intellectual Property Organization

Regulations under the PCT

Rule 68
Lack of Unity of Invention (International Preliminary Examination)

68.1       No Invitation to Restrict or Pay

Where the International Preliminary Examining Authority finds that the requirement of unity of invention is not complied with and chooses not to invite the applicant to restrict the claims or to pay additional fees, it shall proceed with the international preliminary examination, subject to Article 34(4)(b) and Rule 66.1(e), in respect of the entire international application, but shall indicate, in any written opinion and in the international preliminary examination report, that it considers that the requirement of unity of invention is not fulfilled and it shall specify the reasons therefor.

68.2       Invitation to Restrict or Pay

Where the International Preliminary Examining Authority finds that the requirement of unity of invention is not complied with and chooses to invite the applicant, at his option, to restrict the claims or to pay additional fees, the invitation shall:

(i)  specify at least one possibility of restriction which, in the opinion of the International Preliminary Examining Authority, would be in compliance with the applicable requirement;

(ii)  specify the reasons for which the international application is not considered as complying with the requirement of unity of invention;

(iii)  invite the applicant to comply with the invitation within one month from the date of the invitation;

(iv)  indicate the amount of the required additional fees to be paid in case the applicant so chooses; and

(v)  invite the applicant to pay, where applicable, the protest fee referred to in Rule 68.3(e) within one month from the date of the invitation, and indicate the amount to be paid.

68.3       Additional Fees

(a)  The amount of the additional fees due for international preliminary examination under Article 34(3)(a) shall be determined by the competent International Preliminary Examining Authority.

(b)  The additional fees due for international preliminary examination under Article 34(3)(a) shall be payable direct to the International Preliminary Examining Authority.

(c)  Any applicant may pay the additional fees under protest, that is, accompanied by a reasoned statement to the effect that the international application complies with the requirement of unity of invention or that the amount of the required additional fees is excessive. Such protest shall be examined by a review body constituted in the framework of the International Preliminary Examining Authority which, to the extent that it finds the protest justified, shall order the total or partial reimbursement to the applicant of the additional fees. On the request of the applicant, the text of both the protest and the decision thereon shall be notified to the elected Offices as an annex to the international preliminary examination report.

(d)  The membership of the review body referred to in paragraph (c) may include, but shall not be limited to, the person who made the decision which is the subject of the protest.

(e)  The examination of a protest referred to in paragraph (c) may be subjected by the International Preliminary Examining Authority to the payment to it, for its own benefit, of a protest fee. Where the applicant has not, within the time limit under Rule 68.2(v), paid any required protest fee, the protest shall be considered not to have been made and the International Preliminary Examining Authority shall so declare. The protest fee shall be refunded to the applicant where the review body referred to in paragraph (c) finds that the protest was entirely justified.

68.4       Procedure in the Case of Insufficient Restriction of the Claims

If the applicant restricts the claims but not sufficiently to comply with the requirement of unity of invention, the International Preliminary Examining Authority shall proceed as provided in Article 34(3)(c).

68.5       Main Invention

In case of doubt which invention is the main invention for the purposes of Article 34(3)(c), the invention first mentioned in the claims shall be considered the main invention.

Explore WIPO