PCT Receiving Office Guidelines

Chapter VI: Article 14 Check and Other Formal Requirements

The Competent International Searching Authority

114. The receiving Office checks whether the International Searching Authority specified by the applicant is competent to carry out the international search. Each receiving Office may declare one or more International Searching Authorities as competent for the searching of international applications filed with it (Article 16 and Rules 35.1 and 35.2).

115. If the International Searching Authority indicated by the applicant is competent, or if only one International Searching Authority is competent, the receiving Office indicates the name of that Authority on the last sheet of the request. Where more than one International Searching Authority is competent and no indication as to the choice of International Searching Authority is made in Box No. VII of the request, the receiving Office checks whether such indication appears on any other paper filed in connection with the international application, such as the fee calculation sheet, or on any translation submitted for the purposes of international search. Where no such indication is made, the receiving Office invites the applicant to indicate a choice as to the competent Authority within a time limit so fixed in the invitation. Form PCT/RO/132 may be used for that purpose. The time limit so fixed must be reasonable in the circumstances; it shall be not less than 15 days and not more than one month from the date of mailing of the invitation. The invitation may indicate a particular International Searching Authority as the default should the applicant fail to properly respond to the invitation. Where the Office acting as receiving Office is also an International Authority, that Office should generally be set as the default International Searching Authority. The receiving Office proceeds in the same manner where more than one Authority is competent and the applicant has indicated an Authority which is not competent in respect of the application in question. The receiving Office deletes the indication of any non-competent International Searching Authority ex officio (paragraphs 161 to 165) and likewise inserts an indication of a competent International Searching Authority determined through the above-mentioned process.

115A. Where more than one International Searching Authority is competent, the applicant may make a change to the choice of Authority if the search copy has not yet been transmitted to the International Searching Authority originally chosen by the applicant.