As of January 1, 2012, PCT applicants can request that the International Bureau (IB) publish information indicating that their applications are available for licensing. WIPO will make the information available on its PATENTSCOPE website, but it will not be published with the PCT application itself. According to the announcement in the December 2011 PCT Newsletter,  the new program is designed to promote licensing.

Program Details

PCT applicants who would like the public to know that their inventions are available for licensing can submit a new form, “Request for indication of availability for licensing purposes” (Form PCT/IB/382). The form permits applicants to indicate which countries are available for licensing, whether an exclusive or non-exclusive license is available, and any other license terms. The form asks applicants to provide a licensing contact person, and must be signed by the applicant, agent, or common representative.

PCT applicants can submit a “licensing availability request” at any time from the filing of the PCT application until expiration of the 30 month time period. However, if a request is not filed with the application, it should not be filed until a “Notification of the international application number and of the international filing date” (Form PCT/RO/105 ) has been received from the IB or until a “Notification of receipt of record copy” (Form PCT/IB/301 ) has been received from a different Receiving Office.

The licensing information will be available through the application’s “Bibliographic data” page and “Documents” page on PATENTSCOPE , but will not be part of the published PCT itself.  The licensing information submitted by the applicant will be available through links on these pages, providing the public with direct access to any details set forth in the “licensing availability request.”

Comparison To  USPTO Proposal

It is interesting that WIPO is implementing this voluntary program just as the USPTO is proposing to require U.S. applicants to provide additional information regarding the ownership and licensing status of U.S. patent applications. While I have a number of qualms about the proposed U.S. program, the WIPO program seems like a good way to facilitate licensing and help applicants maximize the value of their inventions.