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1819    Earlier Search [R-08.2012]

PCT Rule 4

The Request (Contents)

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4.12. Taking into Account Results of Earlier Search

If the applicant wishes the International Searching Authority to take into account, in carrying out the international search, the results of an earlier international, international-type or national search carried out by the same or another International Searching Authority or by a national Office (“earlier search”):

  • (i) the request shall so indicate and shall specify the Authority or Office concerned and the application in respect of which the earlier search was carried out;
  • (ii) the request may, where applicable, contain a statement to the effect that the international application is the same, or substantially the same, as the application in respect of which the earlier search was carried out, or that the international application is the same, or substantially the same, as that earlier application except that it is filed in a different language.

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PCT Rule 12bis

Copy of Results of Earlier Search and of Earlier Application; Translation

12bis.1 Copy of Results of Earlier Search and of Earlier Application; Translation

  • (a) Where the applicant has, under Rule 4.12, requested the International Searching Authority to take into account the results of an earlier search carried out by the same or another International Searching Authority or by a national Office, the applicant shall, subject to paragraphs (c) to (f), submit to the receiving Office, together with the international application, a copy of the results of the earlier search, in whatever form (for example, in the form of a search report, a listing of cited prior art or an examination report) they are presented by the Authority or Office concerned.
  • (b) The International Searching Authority may, subject to paragraphs (c) to (f), invite the applicant to furnish to it, within a time limit which shall be reasonable under the circumstances:
    • (i) a copy of the earlier application concerned;
    • (ii) where the earlier application is in a language which is not accepted by the International Searching Authority, a translation of the earlier application into a language which is accepted by that Authority;
    • (iii) where the results of the earlier search are in a language which is not accepted by the International Searching Authority, a translation of those results into a language which is accepted by that Authority;
    • (iv) a copy of any document cited in the results of the earlier search.
  • (c) Where the earlier search was carried out by the same Office as that which is acting as the receiving Office, the applicant may, instead of submitting the copies referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b)(i) and (iv), indicate the wish that the receiving Office prepare and transmit them to the International Searching Authority. Such request shall be made in the request and may be subjected by the receiving Office to the payment to it, for its own benefit, of a fee.
  • (d) Where the earlier search was carried out by the same International Searching Authority, or by the same Office as that which is acting as the International Searching Authority, no copy or translation referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) shall be required to be submitted under those paragraphs.
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      • (e) Where the request contains a statement under Rule 4.12(ii) to the effect that the international application is the same, or substantially the same, as the application in respect of which the earlier search was carried out, or that the international application is the same, or substantially the same, as that earlier application except that it is filed in a different language, no copy or translation referred to in paragraphs (b)(i) and (ii) shall be required to be submitted under those paragraphs.
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      • (f) Where a copy or translation referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) is available to the International Searching Authority in a form and manner acceptable to it, for example, from a digital library or in the form of the priority document, and the applicant so indicates in the request, no copy or translation shall be required to be submitted under those paragraphs.

Where the applicant wishes the International Searching Authority (ISA) to take into account, in carrying out the international search, the results of one or more earlier international, international-type, or national searches carried out by the same or another ISA or by a national Office, the application(s) must be identified in the request. Applicants should identify the application(s) in Box No. VII of the request by the filing date, application number, and the country or regional Office.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office performs an international-type search on all U.S. national applications filed on and after 1 June 1978. No specific request by the applicant is required and no number identifying the international-type search is assigned by the Office. See 37 CFR 1.104 (a)(3).

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Last Modified: 03/27/2014 10:10:33