PCT International Search and Preliminary Examination Guidelines


Chapter 16 International Search Report

Filling Out the Notification of Transmittal of the International Search Report or the Declaration, and the Written Opinion of the International Searching Authority (Form PCT/ISA/220)

Address for Correspondence

Section 108

16.14  The address for correspondence is taken from the request form (PCT/RO/101). When an agent represents the applicant, the address for correspondence is listed in Box No. IV of the request form. For applicants processing their own applications, the address for correspondence may be listed in Box No. II of the request form. However, where the correspondence on file shows any changes in the applicant or address for correspondence, the later address is used.

Applicant’s or Agent’s File Reference

Section 109

16.15 The applicant’s or agent’s file reference is taken from the request form (PCT/RO/101) or else the most recent file reference from the latest correspondence from the applicant or the agent.

International Application Number

16.16 The international application number is allocated and recorded on the request form by the receiving Office.

International Filing Date

16.17 The international filing date is assigned by the receiving Office upon receipt of the international application. This date is recorded on the request form.


16.18 When there is more than one applicant in respect of the international application, only the first mentioned of these on the request form is indicated in the international search report. The other applicants, if any, are indicated by the words “et al” (or ET-AL) following the first applicant’s name. The first mentioned applicant is indicated in Box No. II of the request form, a second applicant is listed in Box No. III; further applicants are listed on the continuation sheet if there are more than two applicants.


Example (ii): SMITH, John Doe


(a) As shown above, company names are written in capital letters; for personal names the family name is given first in capital letters and the given names are in mixed case-this helps to identify the family name.

(b) These guidelines will be followed, mutatis mutandis, when the international search report is being prepared in a language, such as Japanese, that does not discriminate between uppercase and lowercase characters or when the language of the international search report has a different order of indicating surnames and given names.

Cases Where No, or Limited, Search Report is Established

Rules 39 and 67

16.19 No International Searching Authority is required to search or examine an international application to the extent that its subject matter is any of the following:

(i) scientific and mathematical theories,

(ii) plant or animal varieties or essentially biological processes for the production of plants and animals, other than microbiological processes and the products of such processes,

(iii) schemes, rules or methods of doing business, performing purely mental acts or playing games,

(iv) methods for treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy, as well as diagnostic methods,

(v) mere presentations of information,

(vi) computer programs to the extent that the International Searching Authority is not equipped to search prior art concerning such programs.

Chapter 9 deals in detail with these exclusions from the search and examination, as well as other situations, such as lack of clarity, where it may not be possible to establish a meaningful international search in respect of some or all claims. See also paragraph 15.12, which deals with the exclusion of claims where a sequence listing complying with the relevant standard in an accepted language is not provided. Supplementary international search reports may also exclude claims which were not the subject of the main international search.

16.20 Paragraph 9.40 indicates the course of action to be taken if it is not possible to establish an international search in respect of any of the claims.

16.21 Where the examiner finds that the claims relate to more than one invention and these inventions are not so linked as to form a single general inventive concept, the international search report may be established only in respect of the first invention and those further inventions in respect of which additional fees are paid. See Chapter 10. The additional fees may be paid under protest (see paragraphs 10.66 to 10.70).