Top of Notices Top of Notices   (393)  December 26, 2023 US PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE Print This Notice 1517 CNOG  2750 

PCT, International Applications Referenced Items (393, 394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 399, 400, 401, 402, 403, 404, 405, 406, 407, 408, 409, 410, 411, 412, 413, 414, 415, 416, 417)
(393) Extension of the pilot of a USPTO email address for submitting
        general questions related to the Patent Cooperation Treaty
            and international and national stage applications

   To improve the overall customer service experience of those needing
information regarding the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and international
and national stage applications, the United States Patent and Trademark
Office (USPTO) is extending for an additional year, effective retroactively
as of January 1, 2023, its pilot of an email address for submitting
inquiries about the PCT and international and national stage applications.
The email address is The USPTO continuously works to
ensure it provides robust services to its stakeholders. Extending the use
of the email address for assistance with the PCT and international and
national stage applications maintains another pathway through which the
USPTO can engage with the public to better serve America's innovation

   On January 1, 2022, the USPTO established, on a one-year pilot basis, an
email address for submitting inquiries regarding the PCT, the procedures
applicable to international applications filed under the PCT, and U.S.
national stage applications submitted under 35 U.S.C. 371. During this
pilot extension, the USPTO will evaluate results from the first year of the
pilot and consider potential changes in light of any findings.

   Since 1993, the USPTO has maintained a PCT Help Desk for telephonic
inquiries regarding PCT issues. The PCT Help Desk is available for the
general public and external customers to make inquiries about general PCT
practice, how to file international applications under the PCT, how to
submit national stage applications under 35 U.S.C. 371, how to file
"bypass" applications under 35 U.S.C. 111(a), the status of pending
applications, how to respond to communications issued in such applications,
and other PCT-related issues. The annual call volume at the PCT Help Desk
has been as high as 40,910 calls per year, with an average of over 22,000
calls annually over the last three fiscal years. The PCT Help Desk is
staffed by experienced attorneys, legal examiners, special program
examiners, and paralegals from the International Patent Legal
Administration (IPLA) staff.

   The IPLA is always looking to improve its services to meet customer
needs. Previous customer feedback indicated a desire that the USPTO work to
reduce wait times with the PCT Help Desk, to extend the hours of
availability to accommodate customers on the west coast of the United
States and customers overseas facing more substantial time differences, and
to permit the use of modern communication mechanisms such as email to
contact the PCT Help Desk. The email address was established in response to
this customer feedback.

   The email address is not intended for case-specific or time-sensitive
inquiries, such as when a petition may be a proper response or when an
established deadline is imminent. Customers should still direct those
inquiries by telephone to the PCT Help Desk. Rather, the email address is
intended for general inquiries. It permits those faced with substantial
time differences to submit inquiries outside of USPTO business hours.
Additionally, by reducing general and non-time sensitive inquiries to the
PCT Help Desk, it can allow for improved response times from the PCT Help

January 17, 2023                                         KATHERINE K. VIDAL
                  Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and
                  Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office

                              [1507 OG 110]