Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) System
During 1997, the International Bureau of WIPO received 54,422 international applications filed worldwide, which was 7,131 (15.1 percent) more than in 1996. During the first five months of 1998, this impressive growth continued: the Secretariat received 27,759 international applications, an increase of 27 percent over the same period in 1997.
Database systems are currently used to process and publish international applications, but the contents of international applications and related documentation are still consulted, stored, and distributed primarily in paper form. In 1997, a detailed study reviewed the complex information and document management needs of the PCT system, and made recommendations for the phased implementation of a global computerized information and document management system. Development and implementation leading toward full automation of the PCT system are expected to take three to four years. A special budget, to be financed from the reserve funds, has been approved for this purpose.
Use of the PCT has been growing at a rapid pace for several years, as evidenced by the growth in both the number of countries party to the Treaty and the number of applications filed under the Treaty. The benefits and advantages of the PCT can be further increased through improvements to the legal and procedural framework of the PCT to make the system better meet the needs of applicants and Contracting States. Moreover, there are a number of countries in several regions, especially developing countries, whose nationals and residents do not yet have available to them the possibility of using the PCT.
Examine and process international applications, as provided by the PCT.
Produce, publish, and disseminate PCT Gazette and PCT pamphlets both in print and electronic formats.
Provide timely translations of titles, abstracts, and textual matter in drawings, and of international preliminary examination reports.
Process the increasing number of international applications filed (+28 percent) directly with the International Bureau as receiving Office (RO/IB).
Maintain and enhance existing PCT computer systems for the storage, electronic data exchange, electronic publishing, and dissemination of PCT information;
Complete the tendering for and start the implementation of a new global information and document management system for the Office of the PCT.
Promote the use of PCT, advise and cooperate with Member States, and encourage participation in and adherence to the PCT.
Management and Operation of the PCT System
Examination and Receiving Office