World Intellectual Property Organization

Regulations under the PCT

Rule 69
Start of and Time Limit for International Preliminary Examination

69.1       Start of International Preliminary Examination

(a)  Subject to paragraphs (b) to (e), the International Preliminary Examining Authority shall start the international preliminary examination when it is in possession of all of the following:

(i)  the demand;

(ii)  the amount due (in full) for the handling fee and the preliminary examination fee, including, where applicable, the late payment fee under Rule 58bis.2; and

(iii)  either the international search report or the declaration by the International Searching Authority under Article 17(2)(a) that no international search report will be established, and the written opinion established under Rule 43bis.1;

provided that the International Preliminary Examining Authority shall not start the international preliminary examination before the expiration of the applicable time limit under Rule 54bis.1(a) unless the applicant expressly requests an earlier start.

(b)  If the national Office or intergovernmental organization that acts as International Searching Authority also acts as International Preliminary Examining Authority, the international preliminary examination may, if that national Office or intergovernmental organization so wishes and subject to paragraphs (d) and (e), start at the same time as the international search.

(b-bis)  Where, in accordance with paragraph (b), the national Office or intergovernmental organization that acts as both International Searching Authority and International Preliminary Examining Authority wishes to start the international preliminary examination at the same time as the international search and considers that all of the conditions referred to in Article 34(2)(c)(i) to (iii) are fulfilled, that national Office or intergovernmental organization need not, in its capacity as International Searching Authority, establish a written opinion under Rule 43bis.1.

(c)  Where the statement concerning amendments contains an indication that amendments under Article 19 are to be taken into account (Rule 53.9(a)(i)), the International Preliminary Examining Authority shall not start the international preliminary examination before it has received a copy of the amendments concerned.

(d)  Where the statement concerning amendments contains an indication that the start of the international preliminary examination is to be postponed (Rule 53.9(b)), the International Preliminary Examining Authority shall not start the international preliminary examination before whichever of the following occurs first:

(i)  it has received a copy of any amendments made under Article 19;

(ii)  it has received a notice from the applicant that he does not wish to make amendments under Article 19;  or

(iii)  the expiration of the applicable time limit under Rule 46.1.

(e)  Where the statement concerning amendments contains an indication that amendments under Article 34 are submitted with the demand (Rule 53.9(c)) but no such amendments are, in fact, submitted, the International Preliminary Examining Authority shall not start the international preliminary examination before it has received the amendments or before the time limit fixed in the invitation referred to in Rule 60.1(g) has expired, whichever occurs first.

69.2       Time Limit for International Preliminary Examination

The time limit for establishing the international preliminary examination report shall be whichever of the following periods expires last:

(i)  28 months from the priority date;  or

(ii)  six months from the time provided under Rule 69.1 for the start of the international preliminary examination; or

(iii)  six months from the date of receipt by the International Preliminary Examining Authority of the translation furnished under Rule 55.2.

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