Rectifications of obvious errors

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Chapter 1. Errors

Section 1.1. Principle

Obvious errors in the international application or in other documents submitted by the applicant may, in general, be rectified if rectification is permitted (R91 PCT).

These errors can be identified by the applicant, but also by the RO, ISA, IPEA, or IB, who then invites the applicant to submit a request (R91.1.h PCT).

Section 1.2. terms

1.2.1. Principle

A correction may be allowed if, and only if, the competent authority (and not anotherR91.1.c PCT) that, on the relevant date, the document contains an error and that the proposed correction immediately imposes itself.

Only the content of the description, the claims, the drawings, the corrections / modifications thereof is taken into account in order to evaluate the eligibility of the correction of the latter (or of a correction of the latter) (R91.1.d PCT).

For other documents, only the content of the application, any document submitted, any priority document that is accessible to the administration or any document contained in the file held by the administration may be taken into account (R91.1.e PCT).

1.2.2. Relevant date

The relevant date mentioned above is:

  • if the error concerns the international application as filed, the date of filing (R91.1.fi PCT);
  • if the error concerns another document (including a correction or modification to the international application), the date of delivery of this document (R91.1.f.ii PCT).

Section 1.3. Location of the error

1.3.1. Can be corrected

Can be corrected, errors:

1.3.2. Can not be corrected

Can not be corrected, errors:

  • consisting of omission (R91.1.gi PCT, but this error can be corrected by incorporation by reference):
    • of an entire element (description, drawings, claims or abstract) A3.2 PCT) or
    • an entire sheet of the application.
  • in the abstract (R91.1.g.ii PCTbut it can be corrected by means of a procedure ad hoc),
  • in an amendment under theA19 PCT unless the IPEA is competent (R91.1.g.iii PCT),
  • in a priority claim or in a correction of a priority claim, and if rectification of the error would result in a change of priority date (R91.1.g.iv PCT).

Section 1.4. Special cases of electronic filings

When submitting an application electronically, certain characters may be modified (eg special characters, formulas) during a transformation of the working version (eg WORD) into a deposit version (ex. PDF or XML).

The RO can accept to receive a working version (called "preconversion") at the same time as the deposit version. In this case, and if the version "pre-conversion" differs from the deposit version, it is possible to ask the RO to correct the request within 30 months in order to bring it in line with the "pre-reversion" version (Administrative Instructions 706).

The EPO and the IB accept to receive the versions "preconversion" (PCT Newsletter n ° 7/2008).

Chapter 2. Query

Section 2.1. Time limit

The request for rectification must be sent to the competent authority within a 26 months from the priority date (R91.2 PCT).

Section 2.2. Competent administration

The competent authority to authorize a rectification is:

  • the RO :
  • the ISA:
    • if the error is in the description, claims or drawings (R91.1.b.ii PCT) unless the IPEA is competent;
    • if the error appears in a correction of the description, claims or drawings (R91.1.b.iv PCT together R91.1.b.ii PCT) unless the IPEA is competent;
  • IPEA:
    • if the error is in the description, claims or drawings (R91.1.b.iii PCT) and if :
      • a request for a preliminary examination has been made and has not been withdrawn;
      • the date on which the examination is to begin (R69.1 PCT) has passed ;
    • if the error appears in a correction of the description, claims or drawings (R91.1.b.iv PCT together R91.1.b.iii PCT) and if :
      • a request for a preliminary examination has been made and has not been withdrawn;
      • the date on which the examination is to begin (R69.1 PCT) has passed ;
    • if the error is in a modification A19 PCT or A34 PCT description, claims or drawings (R91.1.b.iv PCT together R91.1.b.iii PCT) and if :
      • a request for a preliminary examination has been made and has not been withdrawn;
      • the date on which the examination is to begin (R69.1 PCT) has passed.
  • administration to whom any other document containing the error has been submitted (R91.1.b.iv PCT).

The request for rectification must be addressed to this competent authority (R91.2 PCT).

Section 2.3. Tax

The correction request is free (Guide for the applicant §11.033).

Section 2.4. contents

The request must specify the error and the proposed correction. A succinct explanation can be added (R91.2 PCT).

Apart from the correction of the application, the applicant must submit a replacement sheet including the proposed correction and the cover letter may draw attention to the changes (R91.2 PCT together R26.4 PCT).

For the correction of the request, the correction can be indicated in the letter if this correction can be postponed on the request without prejudicing the clarity and the possibility of reproduction (R91.2 PCT together R26.4 PCT).

Section 2.5. Language

The error correction in the request must be made:

  • both in the filing language and in the language of the translation (R12.2.bi PCT together R91.1.b.ii PCT or R91.1.b.iii PCT):
    • if the correction involves a correction of the description, claims or drawings,
    • and if a translation was requested for the research (R12.3.a PCT), for the publication (R12.4.a PCT) or for the preliminary examination (R55.2.a PCT).
  • failing that, in the language in which the application is lodged (R12.2.b PCT).

As regards the correction of the request (R12.2.b.ii PCT), the correction can to be filed only in the language of publication that the RO accepts and which has been chosen by the applicant to translate his request after filing (R12.2.b.ii PCT together R26.3ter.c PCT together R12.1.c PCT).

Chapter 3. Examination of the petition

If the competent authority considers that the conditions are fulfilled, it authorizes the correction and informs the applicant and the IB (R91.3.a PCT).

If the competent authority considers that the conditions born are not completed, it shall inform the applicant by giving reasons (R91.3.a PCT). The IB is also informed.

The IB, if it is competent authority, notifies its decision (refusal or authorization) to the RO, ISA, IPEA and the Offices designated or elected in accordance with the Administrative Instructions (R91.3.a PCT together Administrative Instructions 413bis).

Chapter 4. Effects of a rectification

Section 4.1. Authorized rectification

4.1.1. Principle

In case of rectification, it takes effect:

  • if the correction concerns the international application as filed, at the date of filing (R91.3.ci PCT);
  • if the correction relates to another document (including a correction or an amendment to the international application), to the date of delivery of this document (R91.3.c.ii PCT).

4.1.2. Case of a rectification after the technical preparations of the publication

If an authorization of rectification is received or given by the IB after the technical preparations for the publication, a special declaration indicating the rectification is published with (R48.2.i PCT):

  • leaves containing this correction (or replacement sheets)
  • the accompanying cover letter

The cover page is also the subject of a new publication (R48.2.i PCT).

4.1.3. Taking into account at the research stage

The ISA must take into account the authorized corrections (R43.6bis.a PCT).

However, the ISA may not take them into account if (R43.6bis.b PCTThis correction was authorized by ISA or received by ISA after it began to draft the search report.

In this case, the report mentions it (if possible): if this is not possible, the IB is informed and the latter notifies the applicant, the designated Offices and the IPEA (R43.6bis.b PCT together Administrative Instructions 413.c).

4.1.4. Consideration at the examination stage

IPEA must take into account the authorized corrections (R66.1.d-bis PCT).

In this case, the report mentionsR70.2.e PCT).

However, the IPEA may not take them into account if (R66.4bis PCT) this correction was authorized by the IPEA or received by the IPEA after it began to write the written opinion or the examination report.

In this case, the report mentions it (if possible): if this is not possible, the IB is informed and the IB notifies the rectification to the applicant and the designated Offices (R70.2.e PCT together Administrative Instructions 413.d).

4.1.5. Consideration by designated Offices

Rectification of an obvious mistake does not have to be taken into account by a designated Office which has already started the examination of the national phase application (R91.3.e PCT).

Similarly, if the designated Office considers that it has not authorized this modification, it may reject it. Nevertheless, a reasonable period of time must be given to the applicant to submit comments (R91.3.f PCT).

Section 4.2. Unauthorized rectification

If a correction is refused, the applicant may apply to the IB within 2 months of the decision to publish (R91.3.d PCT), if possible with the international application (if the rejection of rectification is received or given by the IB before the technical preparations for the publication, R48.2.a.viii PCTotherwise, published after and the cover page is reissued, R48.2.k PCT):

  • the request for rectification,
  • the reasons for the refusal of the administration,
  • where applicable, any succinct observations made by the applicant.

A special tax (R91.3.d PCT together Administrative Instructions 113.b) 50 Swiss francs (plus 12 Swiss francs for each sheet from the second) is due within the same period.

Despite this refusal, and if it has been published, the applicant may represent a request for rectification during the national phase (Guide for applicants - national phase §6.016).

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