The five largest Patent Offices (IP5 – EPO, Japan, Korea, China and United States) have launched a new pilot Collaborative Search and Examination (CS&E) programme for PCT applications to take place over the next two years. The programme is likely to be of interest to applicants who would prefer for their International Search Reports to take into account the practices of several International Searching Authorities (ISAs). In doing so the subsequent national phase entries could end up being more efficient.
The CS&E system begins with the typical PCT procedure of the ISA reviewing the application and carrying out an initial search. However, instead of this search being immediately sent to the Applicant the results are first sent to four “Peer” Examiners in the other members of the IP5. These four Peer Examiners will review the results of the search and submit any contributions they have to improve this search. The Peer Examiners may also carry out further searching to the extent deemed necessary. The ISA Examiner will then review the contributions of the Peer Examiners and prepare the final International Search Report for transmission to the Applicant.
The purpose of the pilot is to improve the efficiency of the International Search and take advantage of the differing viewpoints of different Examiners with different working languages. At this stage it has not been confirmed whether there is a system to try and place the Peer Examiner as the national Examiner on entry.
Any Applicant filing a PCT application in English may request participation in the pilot free of charge over the next two years. No pending applications can be added to the pilot. Each Applicant may only have ten applications in the pilot per ISA, so if applicants have a large portfolio and are interested in the pilot it may be necessary to consider which applications may benefit from this. Please note, however, that each ISA can accept just 100 applications in total to the pilot (500 across the IP5 in total).
If you are interested in entering your PCT application(s) to this programme, please speak to your usual advisor at Boult Wade Tennant.