The International Search
(1) Each international application shall be the subject of international
(2) The objective of the international search is to discover relevant prior art.
(3) International search shall be made on the basis of the claims, with due
regard to the description and the drawings (if any).
(4) The International Searching Authority referred to in Article 16 shall
endeavor to discover as much of the relevant prior art as its facilities permit, and
shall, in any case, consult the documentation specified in the Regulations.
(5)(a) If the national law of the Contracting State so permits, the applicant
who files a national application with the national Office of or acting for such
State may, subject to the conditions provided for in such law, request that a
search similar to an international search (“international-type search”) be carried
out on such application.
(b) If the national law of the Contracting State so permits, the national
Office of or acting for such State may subject any national application filed with
it to an international-type search.
(c) The international-type search shall be carried out by the International
Searching Authority referred to in Article 16 which would be competent for an
international search if the national application were an international application
and were filed with the Office referred to in subparagraphs (a) and (b). If the
national application is in a language which the International Searching
Authority considers it is not equipped to handle, the international-type search
shall be carried out on a translation prepared by the applicant in a language
prescribed for international applications and which the International Searching
Authority has undertaken to accept for international applications. The national
application and the translation, when required, shall be presented in the form
prescribed for international applications.
The International Searching Authority
(1) International search shall be carried out by an International Searching
Authority, which may be either a national Office or an intergovernmental
organization, such as the International Patent Institute, whose tasks include the
establishing of documentary search reports on prior art with respect to
inventions which are the subject of applications.
(2) If, pending the establishment of a single International Searching
Authority, there are several International Searching Authorities, each receiving
Office shall, in accordance with the provisions of the applicable agreement
referred to in paragraph (3)(b), specify the International Searching Authority or
Authorities competent for the searching of international applications filed with
(3)(a) International Searching Authorities shall be appointed by the
Assembly. Any national Office and any intergovernmental organization
satisfying the requirements referred to in subparagraph (c) may be appointed as
International Searching Authority.
(b) Appointment shall be conditional on the consent of the national
Office or intergovernmental organization to be appointed and the conclusion of
an agreement, subject to approval by the Assembly, between such Office or
organization and the International Bureau. The agreement shall specify the
rights and obligations of the parties, in particular, the formal undertaking by the
said Office or organization to apply and observe all the common rules of
(c) The Regulations prescribe the minimum requirements, particularly as
to manpower and documentation, which any Office or organization must satisfy
before it can be appointed and must continue to satisfy while it remains
(d) Appointment shall be for a fixed period of time and may be extended
for further periods.
(e) Before the Assembly makes a decision on the appointment of any
national Office or intergovernmental organization, or on the extension of its
appointment, or before it allows any such appointment to lapse, the Assembly
shall hear the interested Office or organization and seek the advice of the
Committee for Technical Cooperation referred to in Article 56 once that
Committee has been established.
Procedure before the International Searching Authority
(1) Procedure before the International Searching Authority shall be
governed by the provisions of this Treaty, the Regulations, and the agreement
which the International Bureau shall conclude, subject to this Treaty and the
Regulations, with the said Authority.
(2)(a) If the International Searching Authority considers
(i) that the international application relates to a subject matter which
the International Searching Authority is not required, under the
Regulations, to search, and in the particular case decides not to
(ii) that the description, the claims, or the drawings, fail to comply
with the prescribed requirements to such an extent that a
meaningful search could not be carried out,
the said Authority shall so declare and shall notify the applicant and the
International Bureau that no international search report will be established.
(b) If any of the situations referred to in subparagraph (a) is found to
exist in connection with certain claims only, the international search report shall
so indicate in respect of such claims, whereas, for the other claims, the said
report shall be established as provided in Article 18.
(3)(a) If the International Searching Authority considers that the
international application does not comply with the requirement of unity of
invention as set forth in the Regulations, it shall invite the applicant to pay
additional fees. The International Searching Authority shall establish the
international search report on those parts of the international application which
relate to the invention first mentioned in the claims (“main invention”) and,
provided the required additional fees have been paid within the prescribed time
limit, on those parts of the international application which relate to inventions in
respect of which the said fees were paid.
(b) The national law of any designated State may provide that, where the
national Office of that State finds the invitation, referred to in subparagraph (a),
of the International Searching Authority justified and where the applicant has
not paid all additional fees, those parts of the international application which
consequently have not been searched shall, as far as effects in that State are
concerned, be considered withdrawn unless a special fee is paid by the applicant
to the national Office of that State.
The International Search Report
(1) The international search report shall be established within the prescribed
time limit and in the prescribed form.
(2) The international search report shall, as soon as it has been established,
be transmitted by the International Searching Authority to the applicant and the
(3) The international search report or the declaration referred to in
Article 17(2)(a) shall be translated as provided in the Regulations. The
translations shall be prepared by or under the responsibility of the International