PCT International Patent Applications Search
A) International Search Report by International Searching Authority:
A competent International Searching Authority (ISA) conducts an international search for the purpose to discover relevant prior art and set out an International Search Report (ISR) along with written opinion (WO) regarding patentability of the Invention. ISR mainly cites the documents considered most relevant in relation to the subject matter of the invention.
B) Written Opinion (WO) of the International Searching Authority (ISA):
The nonbinding written opinion is established along with ISR mainly questions whether the claimed invention appears to be novel, involves inventive step and have industrially applicability. The WO of the ISA is established in the language in which the ISR is established, and is communicated to the applicant and to the IB together with the ISR.The ISA must, as a rule, establish the ISR and the WO within three months from the receipt of the search copy sent to it by the receiving Office or within nine months from the priority date, whichever expires later
Informal Comments on WO of ISA :
The applicant may submit comments on the WO on an informal basis to the IB. The purpose of such informal comments is to give the applicant an opportunity to rebut the WO of the ISA in the event that international preliminary examination is not requested.
C) The International Preliminary Report on Patentability (IPRP) (under Chapter I of the PCT):
If no international preliminary examination report has been or will be established, the WO of the ISA will form the basis for the issuance by the IB, of the IPRP (under Chapter I of the PCT), on behalf of the ISA. IPRP will be communicated to all Designated Offices, together with any informal comments if submitted by the applicant. The IPRP (under Chapter I of the PCT) is made available for public inspection after the expiration of 30 months from the priority date.
D) Supplementary International Search:
In addition to International search, applicant may also request for one or more Supplementary International Searches, which is carried out by an International Authority.Supplementary International Search expands both the linguistic and technical scope of the search, thus reduces the risk of new prior art being cited in the National Phase.
The request for supplementary search (Form PCT/IB/375) is filed after receiving of the main ISR. In any event, the applicant must file a request for a supplementary international search prior to the expiration of 19 months from the priority date. In case the applicant wishes more than one supplementary international search to be carried out, a separate request should be submitted for each supplementary international search. The supplementary search request should be filed in either English or French.
The supplementary international search report is established within 28 months from the priority date.
E) International Preliminary Examination (IPE) (under Chapter II of the PCT):
In order to obtain “a preliminary and non-binding opinion on the novelty, inventive step (non-obviousness), and industrial applicability” of the claimed invention – a demand (Form PCT/IPEA/401) for IPE (under Chapter II of the PCT) of an international application may be filed by the applicant with International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA).
The demand must be submitted directly to an IPEA which is competent to carry out IPE on the international application concerned. Each receiving Office specifies one or more IPEA as competent to carry out IPE on international applications filed with it.
Effects of the international preliminary examination:
The IPRP (under Chapter II of the PCT) gives the applicant the opportunity to evaluate the chances of obtaining patents in Elected Offices in the National Phase. Moreover, demand has the result that the National Phase in each elected State is normally delayed until the expiration of 30 months from the priority date (longer times apply in some elected Offices), provided that the demand is submitted before the expiration of 19 months from the priority date.
Time Limit for Filing demand:
A demand may be submitted at any time prior to the expiration of the following time limits, whichever expires later:
(i) three months from the date of transmittal to the applicant of the ISR and the WO of the ISA, or of the declaration, that no ISR will be established; or
(ii) 22 months from the priority date.
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