A license for foreign filing is not required to file an international application in the United States Receiving Office but may be required before the applicant or the U.S. Receiving Office can forward a copy of the international application to a foreign patent office, the International Bureau or other foreign authority (35 U.S.C. 368, 37 CFR 5.1 and 5.11). A foreign filing license to permit transmittal to a foreign office or international authority is not required if the international application does not disclose subject matter in addition to that disclosed in a prior U.S. national application filed more than 6 months prior to the filing of the international application (37 CFR 5.11(a)). In all other instances (direct foreign filings outside the PCT or filings in a foreign receiving Office), the applicant should petition for a license for foreign filing (37 CFR 5.12) and if appropriate, identify any additional subject matter in the international application which was not in the earlier U.S. national application (37 CFR 5.14(c)).
If no petition or request for a foreign filing license is included in the international application, and it is clear that a license is required because of the designation of foreign countries and the time at which the Record Copy must be transmitted, it is current Office practice to construe the filing of such an international application to include a request for a foreign filing license. If the license can be granted, it will be issued without further correspondence. If no license can be issued, or further information is required, applicant will be contacted. The automatic request for a foreign filing license does not apply to the filing of a foreign application outside the PCT.
EFFECT OF SECRECY ORDER
If a secrecy order is applied to an international application, the application will not be forwarded to the International Bureau as long as the secrecy order remains in effect (PCT Article 27(8) and 35 U.S.C. 368). If the secrecy order remains in effect, the international application will be declared withdrawn (abandoned) because the Record Copy of the international application was not received in time by the International Bureau (37 CFR 5.3(d), PCT Article 12(3), and PCT Rule 22.3). It is, however, possible to prevent abandonment as to the United States of America if it has been designated, by fulfilling the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 371(c).