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IP5 Pilot on Collaborative Search and Examination under the PCT – Update

This text is intended for publication in the
Official Journal (OJ) of the EPO. It is made available in advance on
the EPO website merely as a courtesy to the public. Only the text
subsequently published in the officially certified PDF file of the OJ is
authentic. It cannot be guaranteed that this advance version accurately
replicates that text.

I. Introduction

1. On 1 July 2018, the European Patent
Office (EPO), the Japan Patent Office (JPO), the Korean Intellectual
Property Office (KIPO), the National Intellectual Property
Administration of the People’s Republic of China (CNIPA) and the United
States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), referred to jointly as the
IP5 Offices, launched the operational phase of the pilot project on
Collaborative Search and Examination under the PCT (hereinafter
“the pilot”) (
OJ EPO 2018, A47).

2. It is recalled that each participating
Office could accept as competent International Searching Authority
(“ISA”) a maximum of 100 international applications over the first two
years of the operational phase, with a soft target of 50 files per year.
Until the end of 2018, only international applications filed in English
were eligible to participate in the pilot. Offices could start
accepting international applications filed in a language other than
English only as of 2019. In order to be in a position to accept
applications filed in French and German during the first year of the
operational phase (between July 2018 and June 2019), the EPO decided to
limit the number of applications filed in English to 40 thus leaving
around 10 applications which could still be filed in either French or
German. The quota of 40 applications filed in English was already
reached in September 2018. As a result, the EPO decided to temporarily
stop accepting international applications filed in English and instead,
as of 1 January 2019, it began accepting international applications
filed in French or German. For more details, see OJ EPO 2018, A95.

3. The notices from the EPO cited above are now supplemented by the information contained in the present notice.

II. Second year of the operational phase starting 1 July 2019

1. Users are informed that the moratorium on
international applications filed in English will be lifted as of 1 July
2019, which marks the beginning of the second year of the operational
phase of the pilot. As of that date, the EPO will accept international
applications filed in any of its official languages (English, French or
German) until the total of 100 international applications accepted by
the EPO as ISA has been reached. It is not intended to have any
language-related limitation in the second year, unless the total number
of applications in French or German accepted in the pilot reaches 10, in
which case an update will be posted on the EPO’s website informing
users that the pilot shall be restricted once again to international
applications filed in English only.

2. Peer Offices transmit their contributions
to the competent ISA using a standard form. Peer contribution forms and
any peer contributions attached to them will be made available as
separate documents in PatentScope (paragraph 12 of the Notice from the
EPO published in OJ EPO 2018, A47).
Peer contributions are available only in English, irrespective of the
language of the procedure at the EPO, and they shall not be accessible
to third parties prior to the publication of the international
application. Applicants using the services of the EPO as ISA for the
purpose of the pilot may only access peer contributions prior to the
publication of the international application if they are holders of an
ePCT account, in which case peer contributions shall be accessible from
the date on which the International Search Report is available.

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