PCT Receiving Office (RO): When a PCT application cannot be filed with the USPTO

The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is an international treaty that provides a streamlined process for filing patent applications in multiple countries. The PCT Receiving Office (RO) plays a crucial role in accepting and processing PCT applications. In the Philippines, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) acts as the PCT Receiving Office. However, there are situations when a PCT application cannot be filed with the IPOPHL. In this blog post, we will explore the circumstances under which this can occur and provide relevant examples to enhance understanding.

  1. Missing Priority Document

When filing a PCT application, applicants have the option to claim priority from a previously filed application. This means that if an applicant has filed a national patent application in the Philippines within the past 12 months, they can claim priority for their PCT application. However, if the priority document is missing or fails to meet the requirements set by the IPOPHL, the PCT application may not be filed with the RO.

For example, let’s consider a scenario where an applicant filed a national patent application in the Philippines on June 1, 2022. They intend to file a PCT application on May 30, 2023, claiming priority from their previous application. However, if the applicant fails to submit the priority document or if the document does not comply with the IPOPHL’s guidelines, the PCT application cannot be filed with the RO.

  1. Failure to Meet Formal Requirements

To ensure the integrity and consistency of patent applications, PCT Receiving Offices have certain formal requirements that must be met. These requirements include specific document formats, correct filing fees, and proper completion of forms. Failure to meet these formal requirements can lead to the rejection of a PCT application.

For instance, if an applicant fails to pay the correct filing fees or submits incomplete forms, the IPOPHL may not accept the PCT application. Similarly, if the application does not adhere to the prescribed formatting guidelines, such as font size, margins, or line spacing, it may be considered non-compliant and rejected.

  1. Exclusionary Subject Matter

Patent laws define certain subject matter that is excluded from patentability. In the Philippines, the Intellectual Property Code prohibits the patenting of discoveries, scientific theories, mathematical methods, purely mental processes, schemes, rules, and methods of doing business, and computer programs.

Suppose an applicant attempts to file a PCT application with the IPOPHL for a purely mathematical algorithm or a computer program as an invention. In that case, the application will not be accepted, as it falls under the category of excluded subject matter according to the Philippine Patent Law.

  1. Lack of Unity of Invention

The PCT requires the invention claimed in the PCT application to be “novel, inventive, and susceptible of industrial application.” Furthermore, the claims of a PCT application must be directed to a single invention or a group of inventions linked by a common inventive concept.

If the IPOPHL determines that the PCT application lacks unity of invention, it may refuse to accept the application. For example, if an applicant submits a PCT application with claims directed to unrelated inventions, such as a new type of bicycle and a novel cooking utensil, the application may be rejected due to a lack of unity.


While the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) acts as the PCT Receiving Office, there are circumstances under which a PCT application cannot be filed with the IPOPHL. These include missing priority documents, failure to meet formal requirements, exclusionary subject matter, and lack of unity of invention. It is essential for applicants to be aware of these potential obstacles when filing a PCT application with the IPOPHL. By understanding the requirements and ensuring compliance, applicants can increase their chances of a successful filing.

In situations where assistance is needed to navigate the complexities of patent law and the PCT process, seeking the guidance of an experienced IP law firm can be immensely beneficial. One such firm that specializes in intellectual property matters, including PCT applications, is Brealant. With their in-depth knowledge of the Philippines’ patent system, Brealant can provide invaluable support to applicants looking to protect their inventions internationally.

Whether it is advising on the preparation of priority documents, ensuring compliance with formal requirements, assessing the patentability of inventions, or assisting with the drafting of claims for a PCT application, Brealant’s team of skilled IP attorneys can offer tailored guidance and expert representation throughout the PCT filing process.

Remember, a properly filed PCT application can open doors to international patent protection, providing inventors with the opportunity to safeguard their innovations in multiple countries. By partnering with an esteemed IP law firm like Brealant, applicants can maximize their chances of success and protect their intellectual property rights effectively.

In conclusion, while certain circumstances may prevent the filing of a PCT application with the IPOPHL, being aware of these challenges and seeking professional guidance can help navigate the process smoothly. By understanding the requirements, following the guidelines, and leveraging the expertise of a reputable IP law firm like Brealant, applicants can take proactive steps to secure comprehensive patent protection for their valuable inventions.

Looking for expert guidance in PCT filing and international patent protection? Trust Brealant, is the leading IP law firm specializing in Philippine patent law. Contact us today to secure your innovations with confidence.

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