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General information on e-filing patent applications

The Spanish Patent and Trademark Office, as part of its commitment to improving the quality of the services it provides to the public, and in collaboration with the European Patent Office and the International Office of the WIPO, has developed a project for the electronic filing of patent applications in Spanish.

National applications

Invention patent or utility model applications regulated by the Patents Act (11/1986 of 20 March) can be filed online. PCT national phase entry applications that designate Spain may also be filed electronically.

Several kinds of applications can be filed within each category, whether patent or utility model: additions to Spanish or European patents, divisional applications, European patent transformation applications, as well as category change applications.

Also, where the necessary conditions are met, it is possible to apply to have patent applications accepted into the Accelerated Patent Grant Programme.

The software is distributed by the European Patent Office via EPO Online Filing. It is free of charge. Documents attached to applications must be in PDF format.

Finally, various types of electronic signatures have been made available to applicants, most notably the facsimile signature and the advanced electronic signature. For further information, consult the Technical Requirements section.

International PCT applications

As a result of the work undertaken, PCT gazette no. 03/2004 of 15 January published the corresponding communication stating that the SPTO is ready to receive international PCT applications in electronic format. This announcement includes the necessary technical parameters that make electronic submission possible, and highlights the interest of the SPTO in offering applicants various options in terms of the application methods available. The most relevant aspects included in the Gazette are detailed below.

Users have been able to submit international PCT applications in electronic format or by electronic means since 15 January 2004, in accordance with PCT Rule 89bis and with Part 7 and Appendix F of the Administrative Instructions, which contain the legal framework and the necessary technical standard, respectively.

Applications can be submitted electronically either online over the internet, or through the use of physical media such as a 3.5-inch floppy disk, a CD-R or DVD-R. There are two software packages available: one distributed by the European Patent Office via EPO Online Filing, and the other through the International Office of the WIPO, called PCT-SAFE. Both are free of charge. In terms of document formats, applicants can use the following: XML, PDF or TIFF.

Lists of amino acid or nucleotide sequences should be formatted according to WIPO Standard ST.25. Where a list of sequences is attached, it should be filed in the Biology > List of Sequences section in a format which enables searches (ST.25 or ASCII Text). It should also be entered in the Contents > Accompanying items section in PDF format, under the “Others” option.

Finally, various types of electronic signatures have been made available to applicants, most notably the facsimile signature and the advanced electronic signature. For further information, consult the Technical Requirements section.

European Patent Applications

The SPTO is an organisation with the authority to receive European patent applications.

Applications can be submitted electronically online. The software is distributed by the European Patent Office via EPO Online Filing. It is free of charge. In terms of document formats, applicants can use the following: XML or PDF; lists of amino acid or nucleotide sequences should be formatted according to WIPO Standard ST.25. Finally, various types of electronic signatures have been made available to applicants, most notably the facsimile signature and the advanced electronic signature. For further information, consult the Technical Requirements section.

Validations of European patents

Royal Decree 2424/1986 of 10 October, applying the European Patent Convention (EPC), regulates the filing of translations to obtain provisional or definitive protection in Spain. The translation may refer to the claims of the application and, where relevant, in the text of the drawings (provisional protection when the application has been published by the EPO). Alternatively, it may refer to the complete text of the European patent, whether granted or not, modified following an opposition procedure or limited as a consequence of a limitation procedure (definitive protection). These translations relating to the validation of European patents in Spain should not be confused with the translations required during the patent granting procedure regulated by the Convention. These must be filed at the European Patent Office in the ways indicated by the EPO.

The Spanish Patent and Trademark Office has a secure platform for the electronic filing of translations relating to the validation of a European patent or application in Spain, for use by applicants and owners of European patents. This platform also enables other procedures associated with the validation procedure in Spain to be carried out. These procedures include: responses to rejections, voluntary submission of documentation or corrections, applications for the extension of deadlines, and applications for the reinstatement of rights lost due to failures to file translations.

About the electronic procedure

With regard to the actual electronic procedure, the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office will send applicants an acknowledgement of receipt that will include details of the applicant, the title of the invention, the filing date and the international application number, as well as the identification of the files received regarding the different documents of which the international application is composed: request, description, claims, etc. Furthermore, as the Receiving Office, the SPTO will make all necessary efforts to accept an international application when this contains certain defects, as well as notifying applicants, by any means, of the reception of the electronic application. Payment methods include the use of the procedures available at the SPTO.Finally, in order to answer questions or resolve technical problems that may arise, the SPTO has established a user support unit (see section Technical Support and Information).

Table

The following table lists the applicable discounts and the start date for the different application procedures:

 

Online application

Start date

Discount

National patent

Now available and fully operative

15%

PCT

Now available and fully operative

14% (unencoded character format)
21% (encoded character format)

European patent

Now available and fully operative

28% (from 1 April 2004)

European patent validation

Now available and fully operative

15%

Patents and utility model post-application procedures

Now available and fully operative

15%

Application receiving systems

The computer application allows users to choose which of the following two systems should receive the application when it is filed:

  • Production mode: Effective filing of the application with full legal effect.
  • Demo mode: A demonstration system that simulates the entire application procedure, but which has no legal effect. To be used for testing and training purposes only.

 

The modules available on Online Filing are:

  • ES3101 (Patent and Utility Model Application )
  • ESTSBUS (Patents and utility model post-application procedures)
  • EP1001 (European patent application)
  • ESEPVAL (European patent validation)
  • PCT/RO/101 (International PCT application)
  • PCT-DEMAND (International preliminary examination application)
  • PCT-SFD PCT (PCT post-application documents)