I. MEASURING TIME LIMITS UNDER THE PCT
Time limits under the PCT are measured from the “priority date” of the application. The priority date for the purposes of computing time limits is defined in PCT Article 2(xi). Where an international application does not contain any priority claim under PCT Article 8, the international filing date is considered to be the priority date.
II. INTERNATIONAL FILING DATE
An international application under the Patent Cooperation Treaty is generally filed within 12 months after the filing of the first application directed to the same subject matter, so that priority may be claimed under PCT Article 8 and Article 4 of the Stockholm Act of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. PCT Article 11 specifies the elements required for an international application to be accorded an international filing date.
III. ESTABLISHMENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL SEARCH REPORT AND WRITTEN OPINION OF THE INTERNATIONAL SEARCHING AUTHORITY
As provided in PCT Rule 42 and PCT Rule 43bis, the time limit for establishing the international search report (or a declaration that no international search report will be established) and written opinion is three months from the receipt of the search copy by the International Searching Authority, or nine months from the priority date, whichever time limit expires later.
IV. INTERNATIONAL PUBLICATION
Under PCT Article 21, the international publication of the international application by the International Bureau shall be effected promptly after the expiration of 18 months from the priority date of that application.
V. SUPPLEMENTARY INTERNATIONAL SEARCH (SIS)
As provided in PCT Rule 45bis, at any time prior to the expiration of 22 months from the priority date, the applicant can request one or more supplementary international searches each to be carried out by an International Searching Authority other than the International Searching Authority which carries out the main international search.
VI. DEADLINE FOR FILING THE DEMAND
International preliminary examination is optional. A demand for international preliminary examination must be filed prior to the expiration of whichever of the following periods expires later: (A) three months from the date of transmittal to the applicant of the international search report and the written opinion; or (B) 22 months from the priority date. Otherwise the demand shall be considered as if it had not been submitted and the International Preliminary Examining Authority shall so declare. See PCT Rule 54. In order to take advantage of a national phase entry time limit of at least 30 months from the priority date in relation to all States designated in the international application, it may be necessary to file a demand before the expiration of 19 months from the priority date. See subsection VII.A., below.
VII. DEADLINE FOR FILING COPY, TRANSLATION, AND FEE IN NATIONAL STAGE OFFICES
A listing of all national and regional offices, and the corresponding time limits for entering the national stage following PCT Chapter I and PCT Chapter II, may be found on WIPO’s website at: www.wipo.int/pct/en/texts/time_limits.html.
A. National Stage Entry Following PCT Chapter I
PCT Article 22(1) was amended, effective April 1, 2002, to specify that the national stage requirements are due not later than at the expiration of 30 months from the priority date if no demand has been filed. Prior to April 1, 2002, PCT Article 22(1) specified that these requirements were due not later than at the expiration of 20 months from the priority date. See www.wipo.int/pct/en/texts/time_limits.html for a list of the Contracting States that have not yet changed their national laws to adopt the 30 month period now set forth in PCT Article 22(1). (At the time of publication of this Chapter, only two countries have not adopted Article 22(1) as amended: Luxembourg (LU) and the United Republic of Tanzania (TZ). It is noted that Luxembourg is included in the regional designation “EPO” and that the United Republic of Tanzania is included in the regional designation “ARIPO.”)
B. National Stage Entry Following PCT Chapter II
If the election of a Contracting State has been effected by filing a demand prior to the expiration of the 19th month from the priority date, the provisions of Article 39 apply rather than the provisions of Article 22. The deadline for filing the national stage requirements under PCT Article 39(a) is 30 months from the priority date, but any national law may fix time limits which expire later than the time limit provided in PCT Article 39(a). See PCT Article 39(b) and the list of time limits found on WIPO’s website at www.wipo.int/pct/en/ texts/time_limits.html.