(a) Each International Searching Authority may require that the applicant pay a fee (“search fee”) for its own benefit for carrying out the international search and for performing all other tasks entrusted to International Searching Authorities by the Treaty and these Regulations.
(b) The search fee shall be collected by the receiving Office. The said fee shall be payable in the currency prescribed by that Office (“prescribed currency”).
(c) Where the prescribed currency is the currency in which the International Searching Authority has fixed the said fee (“fixed currency”), the receiving Office shall transfer the said fee to that Authority in that currency in accordance with Rule 96.2.
(d) Where the prescribed currency is not the fixed currency and that currency:
(i) is freely convertible into the fixed currency, the Director General shall establish, for each receiving Office which prescribes such a currency for the payment of the search fee, an equivalent amount of that fee in the prescribed currency according to directives given by the Assembly, and the amount in that currency shall be transferred by the receiving Office to the International Searching Authority in accordance with Rule 96.2;
(ii) is not freely convertible into the fixed currency, the receiving Office shall be responsible for the conversion of the search fee from the prescribed currency into the fixed currency and shall transfer that fee in the fixed currency, in the amount fixed by the International Searching Authority, to the International Searching Authority in accordance with Rule 96.2.
(e) Where, in respect of the payment of the search fee in a prescribed currency, other than the fixed currency, the amount actually received under paragraph (d)(i) of this Rule by the International Searching Authority in the prescribed currency is, when converted by it into the fixed currency, less than that fixed by it, the difference will be paid to the International Searching Authority by the International Bureau, whereas, if the amount actually received is more, the difference will belong to the International Bureau.
(f) As to the time limit for payment of the search fee and the amount payable, the provisions of Rule 15.3 relating to the international filing fee shall apply mutatis mutandis.
The receiving Office shall refund the search fee to the applicant:
(i) if the determination under Article 11(1) is negative,
(ii) if, before the transmittal of the search copy to the International Searching Authority, the international application is withdrawn or considered withdrawn, or
(iii) if, due to prescriptions concerning national security, the international application is not treated as such.
Where the International Searching Authority takes into account, under Rule 41.1, the results of an earlier search in carrying out the international search, that Authority shall refund the search fee paid in connection with the international application to the extent and under the conditions provided for in the agreement under Article 16(3)(b).