Until international publication (18 months after the priority date) of a PCT application, no third party is allowed access to an international application unless the applicant requests or authorizes it. If an applicant wishes to withdraw their application (and it is done so before international publication), international publication does not take place and, as a consequence, no access by third parties is permitted. However, when international publication occurs, certain documents in the international application file are made available on PATENTSCOPE together with the published international application, for example, the written opinion of the ISA and any informal comments on the written opinion.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.