On 18 August 2014, the European Patent Office (EPO) in its capacity as receiving Office and International Searching Authority announced the launch of a new PCT service called "PCT Direct". This original PCT direct program continues to apply to international applications filed with the EPO as receiving Office as of 1 November 2014.
As of 1 July 2015, PCT applicants who selected the EPO as International Searching Authority are additionally able to use this service and submit PCT Direct letters irrespective of the chosen receiving Office.
Under PCT Direct, an applicant filing an international application claiming priority from an earlier application already searched by the EPO is able to react to any objections raised in the search opinion drawn up for the priority application. This new service is intended to simplify the assessment of the international application and to add to the value of the international search report and written opinion established by the EPO.
Requests for PCT Direct
Applicants may request to have their international application processed under PCT Direct by filing a letter ("PCT Direct letter") containing informal comments aimed at overcoming objections raised in the search opinion established by the EPO for the priority application. Such informal comments are to be understood as arguments regarding the patentability of the claims of the international application and also possibly as explanations regarding any modifications to the application documents, in particular to the claims, in comparison with the earlier application. PCT Direct letters will not form part of the international application.
For further details of the PCT Direct program at the EPO, please contact our attorneys at Dennemeyer & Associates.