March 2019 | No. 03/2019


Meeting of International Authorities

The 26th session of the Meeting of International Authorities under the PCT was held in Cairo, Egypt, from 13 to 14 February 2019.  The Summary by the Chair and working documents can be found on the WIPO website at:


The topics discussed included:

  • the results of the meeting of the Quality Subgroup and its recommendations for further work on quality management; for further details, please refer to the Summary by the Chair (Annex II to document PCT/MIA/26/13);
  • a status report on the PCT Minimum Documentation Task Force led by the European Patent Office (document PCT/MIA/26/8), where the Meeting agreed on the possibility of convening a physical meeting of the Task Force to discuss the technical requirements for patent collections to be part of the PCT Minimum Documentation;
  • proposals to amend the PCT International Search and Preliminary Examination Guidelines made by the Japan Patent Office with the aim of strengthening links between the international and national phases of the PCT procedure (document PCT/MIA/26/6);
  • a progress report in relation to introducing a “netting structure” for PCT fee transactions to reduce exposure of fee income to movements in currency exchange rates, and to reduce cost and efforts for receiving Offices and International Searching Authorities; the IB intends to submit proposals to implement netting in the PCT legal framework at the twelfth session of the PCT Working Group (document PCT/MIA/26/3);
  • the transition from WIPO Standard ST.25 to the XML based WIPO Standard ST.26 for the presentation of nucleotide and amino acid sequence listings (document PCT/MIA/26/2);
  • the operational phase of a third pilot on collaborative search and examination between the IP5 Offices that began in July 2018 and will run for three years, where Offices were beginning to accept applications for the pilot in languages other than English (document PCT/MIA/26/4);
  • safeguards when an applicant is unable to meet a time limit in the event of unavailability of electronic communications at an Office (document PCT/MIA/26/5);
  • providing a legal basis in the PCT for correction or addition of indications under PCT Rule 4.11 (relating to references to a continuation or continuation‑in‑part or a parent application or grant) (document PCT/MIA/26/7);
  • the use of national classification symbols in international applications (document PCT/MIA/26/10);
  • a proposal made by the China National Intellectual Property Administration to promote the improvement of the international search report and written opinion, and, in relation to this, to design and conduct a survey for providers and users of these work products, including examiners, applicants and third parties (document PCT/MIA/26/11); and
  • a proposal made by the Indian Patent Office that would remove the step of a receiving Office specifying the International Searching and Preliminary Examining Authorities that are competent for searching and examining international applications filed at that Office, with applicants instead being able to choose any Authority for international search (document PCT/MIA/26/12).

Authorities expressed appreciation for the recent developments of the various electronic services offered by the IB for use by applicants, receiving Offices, International Authorities and third parties (document PCT/MIA/26/9).  On this subject, Authorities noted the need for data to be created according to consistent standards for exchange between Offices and re‑use in the different stages of the application process.  Authorities also emphasized the importance of sharing detailed plans to ensure alignment between Offices in their electronic services, particularly in the bibliographic data in the request form, conversion of application bodies from formats such as DOCX and XML for search and examination reports.

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