PCT-Direct programme extended by EPO to PCT applications having a receiving office other than the EPO

1. On November 1st, 2014, the European Patent Office (EPO) as Receiving Office and International Searching Authority launched a new service: “PCT direct”.


This service is available for international applications claiming priority from an earlier application already searched by the EPO, filed on or after November 1st, 2014 and for which the EPO is International Searching Authority (ISA).


2. Initially, this service was only available to International applications for which the EPO was the receiving office (RO).

As of July 1st, 2015, the service is also available for International Applications filed at receiving offices other than the EPO.


3. As in the past, when filing an international application eligible for the PCT-Direct programme, it is possible to file a letter (”PCT direct letter”) including comments. The comments are informal and do not form part of the International Application.


This PCT direct letter aims at presenting arguments in response to the objections raised in the search opinion established by the EPO for the priority application, or at drawing the attention of the Examiner to amendments to the application documents, in particular to the claims, in comparison with the earlier application, and which have been introduced in order to overcome these objections.


4. Other than the requirement of the priority application having been searched by the EPO, the PCT-Direct letter needs to be filed together with the international application at the receiving office.


More information is available on the EPO website, here.


If you have any questions concerning this newsletter, please contact Oliver Tischner.


This IP Alert is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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