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PCT International Search and Preliminary Examination Guidelines


Chapter 17 Content of Written Opinions and the International Preliminary Examination Report

Different Types of Opinion and Report

Written Opinion of the International Searching Authority

Rules 43bis, 66.1bis

17.04  A written opinion will be issued by the International Searching Authority together with the international search report or the declaration under Article 17(2)(a) that no international search report will be established. This will normally be treated as the first written opinion of the International Preliminary Examining Authority under Article 34(2) in the event that international preliminary examination is demanded and, as such, the opinion will include an invitation to submit a response, together with a time-limit (see Rules 43bis.1(c) and 54bis.1(a)) for that response, if the applicant wishes to demand international preliminary examination. However International Preliminary Examining Authorities may notify the International Bureau that this will not be the case for written opinions issued by specified International Searching Authorities other than themselves. Such notifications are published by the International Bureau in the Gazette.

17.05 Many of the Rules that are referred to in this chapter are stated to apply to the International Preliminary Examining Authority conducting an international preliminary examination under Chapter II of the Treaty. However, while this is not explicitly stated in the references, they also apply to the International Searching Authority by virtue of Rule 43bis.1(b).

Written Opinion(s) of the International Preliminary Examining Authority

Rule 66.4, 66.6

17.06 Written opinions may also be issued by the International Preliminary Examining Authority where international preliminary examination is demanded. The written opinion of the International Searching Authority is usually treated as the first written opinion of the International Preliminary Examining Authority. Although not required, the IPEA may establish further written opinions taking into account arguments or amendments made by the applicant in response to the written opinion issued by the International Searching Authority. Such written opinions will normally offer the applicant a further opportunity to submit amendments or arguments before the international preliminary examination report is established. The International Preliminary Examining Authority may also communicate informally with the applicant over the telephone, in writing, or by personal interview.

17.07 For international applications where the written opinion of the International Searching Authority is not treated as the first written opinion under Article 34(2), the International Preliminary Examining Authority should (except where all the conditions (i) through (vi) set out in paragraph 19.22 apply):

(a) establish a first written opinion as defined in paragraph 17.02, which should take into account the content of the written opinion established by the International Searching Authority; and

(b) notify the applicant accordingly in writing and set a time period for response as defined in Rule 66.2(d).

The International Preliminary Examination Report

17.08 Assuming that international preliminary examination is demanded, an international preliminary examination report (entitled “international preliminary report on patentability (Chapter II of the Patent Cooperation Treaty)”) is drawn up at the end of the process of examination, taking into account amendments or observations that the applicant has made during the process.