uspto.gov
Skip over navigation

110    Confidential Nature of International Applications [R-11.2013]

PCT Article 30

Confidential Nature of the International Application.

  • (1)
    • (a) Subject to the provisions of subparagraph (b), the International Bureau and the International Searching Authorities shall not allow access by any person or authority to the international application before the international publication of that application, unless requested or authorized by the applicant.
    • (b) The provisions of subparagraph (a) shall not apply to any transmittal to the competent International Searching Authority, to transmittals provided for under Article 13, and to communications provided for under Article 20.
  • (2)
    • (a) No national Office shall allow access to the international application by third parties unless requested or authorized by the applicant, before the earliest of the following dates:
      • (i) date of the international publication of the international application,
      • (ii) date of receipt of the communication of the international application under Article 20,
      • (iii) date of receipt of a copy of the international application under Article 22.
    • (b) The provisions of subparagraph (a) shall not prevent any national Office from informing third parties that it has been designated, or from publishing that fact. Such information or publication may, however, contain only the following data: identification of the receiving Office, name of the applicant, international filing date, international application number, and title of the invention.
    • (c) The provisions of subparagraph (a) shall not prevent any designated Office from allowing access to the international application for the purposes of the judicial authorities.
  • (3) The provisions of paragraph (2)(a) shall apply to any receiving Office except as so far as transmittals provided for under Article 12(1) are concerned.
  • (4) For the purposes of this Article, the term “access” covers any means by which third parties may acquire cognizance, including individual communication and general publication, provided, however, that no national Office shall generally publish an international application or its translation before the international publication or, if international publication has not taken place by the expiration of 20 months from the priority date, before the expiration of 20 months from the said priority date.

PCT Article 38

Confidential Nature of the International Preliminary Examination.

  • (1) Neither the International Bureau nor the International Preliminary Examining Authority shall, unless requested or authorized by the applicant, allow access within the meaning, and with the proviso, of Article 30(4) to the file of the international preliminary examination by any person or authority at any time, except by the elected Offices once the international preliminary examination report has been established.
  • (2) Subject to the provisions of paragraph (1) and Articles 36(1) and (3) and 37(3)(b), neither the International Bureau nor the International Preliminary Examining Authority shall, unless requested or authorized by the applicant, give information on the issuance or non-issuance of an international preliminary examination report and on the withdrawal or non-withdrawal of the demand or of any election.

35 U.S.C. 368   Secrecy of certain inventions; filing international applications in foreign countries.

  • (a) International applications filed in the Patent and Trademark Office shall be subject to the provisions of chapter 17.
  • (b) In accordance with article 27(8) of the treaty, the filing of an international application in a country other than the United States on the invention made in this country shall be considered to constitute the filing of an application in a foreign country within the meaning of chapter 17, whether or not the United States is designated in that international application.
  • (c) If a license to file in a foreign country is refused or if an international application is ordered to be kept secret and a permit refused, the Patent and Trademark Office when acting as a Receiving Office, International Searching Authority, or International Preliminary Examining Authority, may not disclose the contents of such application to anyone not authorized to receive such disclosure.

Although most international applications are published soon after the expiration of 18 months from the priority date, PCT Article 21(2)(a), such publication does not open up the Home Copy or Search Copy to the public for inspection, except as provided in 37 CFR 1.14(g) .

37 C.F.R. 1.14   Patent applications preserved in confidence.

*****

  • (g) International applications.
    • (1) Copies of international application files for international applications which designate the U.S. and which have been published in accordance with PCT Article 21(2), or copies of a document in such application files, will be furnished in accordance with PCT Articles 30 and 38 and PCT Rules 94.2 and 94.3, upon written request including a showing that the publication of the application has occurred and that the U.S. was designated, and upon payment of the appropriate fee (see § 1.19(b)), if:
      • (i) With respect to the Home Copy (the copy of the international application kept by the Office in its capacity as the Receiving Office, see PCT Article 12(1)), the international application was filed with the U.S. Receiving Office;
      • (ii) With respect to the Search Copy (the copy of an international application kept by the Office in its capacity as the International Searching Authority, see PCT Article 12(1)), the U.S. acted as the International Searching Authority, except for the written opinion of the International Searching Authority which shall not be available until the expiration of thirty months from the priority date; or
      • (iii) With respect to the Examination Copy (the copy of an international application kept by the Office in its capacity as the International Preliminary Examining Authority), the United States acted as the International Preliminary Examining Authority, an International Preliminary Examination Report has issued, and the United States was elected.
    • (2) A copy of an English language translation of a publication of an international application which has been filed in the United States Patent and Trademark Office pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 154(d)(4) will be furnished upon written request including a showing that the publication of the application in accordance with PCT Article 21(2) has occurred and that the U.S. was designated, and upon payment of the appropriate fee (§ 1.19(b)(4)).
    • (3) Access to international application files for international applications which designate the U.S. and which have been published in accordance with PCT Article 21(2), or copies of a document in such application files, will be permitted in accordance with PCT Articles 30 and 38 and PCT Rules 44 ter .1, 94.2 and 94.3, upon written request including a showing that the publication of the application has occurred and that the U.S. was designated.
    • (4) In accordance with PCT Article 30, copies of an international application-as-filed under paragraph (a) of this section will not be provided prior to the international publication of the application pursuant to PCT Article 21(2).
    • (5) Access to international application files under paragraphs (a)(1)(i) through (a)(1)(vi) and (g)(3) of this section will not be permitted with respect to the Examination Copy in accordance with PCT Article 38.

*****

37 CFR 1.14(g) applies to international applications having an international filing date on or after November 29, 2000. After publication of an application under 35 U.S.C. 122(b), the USPTO will make available copies of the application files and also allow for access to those files in accordance with 37 CFR 1.14(a). Therefore, after publication of an international application designating the U.S. under PCT Article 21, the USPTO will make available copies of, and allow access to, those international application files which are kept in the USPTO (see 37 CFR 1.14(g) ).

37 CFR 1.14(g)(1) sets forth those conditions upon which copies of international application files may be provided to the public. 37 CFR 1.14(g)(1)(i) and (ii) address the situation where the U.S. acted as the receiving Office and the International Searching Authority, respectively. Under these provisions, copies of the Home and Search Copies of the international file will be provided upon request. However, the written opinion established by the International Searching Authority will not be available until the expiration of 30 months from the priority date. 37 CFR 1.14(g)(1)(iii) addresses the situation in which the U.S. acted as the International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA), the U.S. was elected, and the international preliminary examination report (IPER) has issued. PCT Rule 94.2 provides that after issuance of the IPER, the IPEA shall provide copies of any documents in the examination file to the elected Offices upon request. PCT Rule 94.3 permits the elected Offices to provide access to any documents in its files after international publication has occurred. Therefore, the USPTO acting in its capacity as an elected Office, will provide a copy of the examination file in an international application to a third party upon submission of a request complying with the requirements of 37 CFR 1.14(g)(1)(iii). Requests for copies of an international application file under 37 CFR 1.14(g)(1) must be in the form of a written request sent to the Office of PCT Legal Administration and must include a showing that the international application has been published and that the U.S. was designated. Such a showing should preferably be in the form of the submission of a copy of the front page of the published international application. Additionally, requests for copies of international application files must also be accompanied by the appropriate fee (37 CFR 1.19(b)).

37 CFR 1.14(g)(2) provides that copies of English language translations of international applications, which were published in a non-English language and which designated the U.S., and which have been submitted to the Office pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 154(d)(4), will also be available to the public. The USPTO will not provide general notification to the public of the filing of English language translations under 35 U.S.C. 154. Under 35 U.S.C. 154, it is the responsibility of the applicant to notify any possible infringers for the purposes of obtaining provisional rights.

37 CFR 1.14(g)(3) addresses access to the Home Copy and the Search Copy of the international application. Access to the Examination Copy of the international application is prohibited under 37 CFR 1.14(g)(5) as required by PCT Article 38.

[top]

 

United States Patent and Trademark Office
This page is owned by Patents.
Last Modified: 03/27/2014 10:10:32