PCT International Search and Preliminary Examination Guidelines


Chapter 21 Common Quality Framework for International Search and Preliminary Examination


21.01  International Searching and Preliminary Examining Authorities are entrusted to apply and observe all the common rules of international search and examination. Although applicants can generally expect the Authorities to act in accordance with these Guidelines, some variability is inherent, due to the involvement of several Authorities in the international search and examination process and to the multitude of personnel within the various Authorities, in the international search and examination process. At the same time, it is recognized that minimizing inconsistencies between and within the Authorities is crucial to the unqualified acceptance of an Authority’s work product by other Offices.

21.02  This chapter sets out the main features of a quality framework for international search and preliminary examination. It describes a minimum set of criteria that each Authority shall use as a model for establishing its individual quality scheme.

Rules 36.1(iv), 63.1(v)

21.03  Each Authority shall establish and maintain a quality management system (QMS) which complies with the following requirements with regard to:

1. Leadership and policy

2. Risk-based practices

3. Resources

4. Management of administrative workload

5. Quality assurance

6. Communication

7. Documentation

8. Search process documentation

Additional Provisions:

9. Internal review

10. Reporting arrangements