A while ago, I talked about how to prepare a PCT-EASY .Zip File. Lately, I've noticed a trend from the receiving office (USPTO), here is a follow up on what happens after you file a PCT application and what to do if you are invited to correct any defects. Just as a disclosure, when I talk about the receiving office (RO) here, I mean the USPTO. I haven't submitted PCT applications to other ROs. And another side note- remember that at least one applicant has to be a US national or resident in order for you to designate the USPTO as the RO. If that is not the case, then you cannot use the USPTO as the RO.
Now, what happens after you file a PCT application? Just as you receive an e-receipt after filing a normal US patent application, you will also receive one for your PCT application if you use EFS-Web to file. Then it should take you about 1-2 weeks to receive something in the mail from the RO.
Normally, you will receive a Notification Concerning Payment of Prescribed Fees, a Notification of the International Application Number and of the International Filing Date, and a Notification of Receipt of Search Copy.
The Notification Concerning Payment of Prescribed Fees breaks down the fees that you've paid for your application. Ideally, you want to see a balance of $0. If you've overpaid you will be issued a refund for the balance. If you've underpaid, you will be asked to pay within one month from the date of receipt of the PCT application or within 16 months from the priority date.
The Notification of the International Application Number and of the International Filing Date is sort of like the Confirmation Receipt you receive from the USPTO for your US patent applications. This has the application number and the filing date- which is already on your e-receipt.
The Notification of Receipt of Search Copy just specifies that the search copy of the international application was received.
You will also receive a Notification of Receipt of Record Copy via email.(The top two documents you will get in the mail.) This is sort of redundant but it has your application information and all of the designated states (which should list all of the states that are parties to the PCT).
You may also receive an Invitation to Correct Defects in the International Application. I've received a couple of these lately and I've actually been sort of annoyed by it. Recently, I've been receiving these because: 1) my signature does not accompany my USPTO registration number; and 2) I didn't enter my capacity. You will know, however, that when you use the PCT-SAFE program to prepare your .Zip file, there is no way for you to put any text under or adjacent to your signature if you're already entered as one of the agents in the "Names" section. So what you have to do is type in your signature and your registration number together like this: "/John Smith/ Reg. No. 12345."
Also, you will realize that you don't need to enter your capacity or title if it's obvious from looking at the rest of the request form. And there is no way for you to enter your capacity if you're listed as one of the agents because the capacity box grey out. What I personally do is just leave my capacity blank and then correct it if I'm asked to do. The best way to correct it in my opinion is to just write the capacity in using Preview or hand writing it and then scanning/uploading it. This second problem occurs less frequently- I think it depends on who is reviewing your request form.
The ISA will issue you a search report within approximately 4 months from the filing date. And then your application will be published (searchable on WIPO) in approximately 14-16 months.