PCT Minimum Documentation

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Under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), patent applications submitted through the PCT system are searched by one of the designated receiving patent offices, and given a written (non-binding) report on the patentability of the disclosed invention.

Although the procedures have changed somewhat over the years, as of 2004 all PCT applications are issued an "International Preliminary Report on Patentability," or IPRP, which is included as part of the PCT published application.[1] The IPRP presents prior art related to the application found during a search and a non-binding opinion about how that prior art affects the patentability of the disclosed invention. These search reports are meant to help receiving national patent offices examine the patent application when it converts to the national stage. They can also help patent searchers understand the content of the disclosed invention as well as the likelihood of the application becoming a granted patent.

The IPRP searches and opinions are created at one of the patent offices designated as an International Search Authority (ISA) by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). To become an ISA, a patent office must prove that it has access to a wide range of prior art data sources, known as the PCT Minimum Documentation standards, which include both patent and non-patent sources. These standards are defined by the text of the PCT, but are open to revision as WIPO deems necessary: for example, Korean publications were added to the minimum documentation standards in 2005 as a response to an increase in the first patent filings occurring there.[2] The Arabic language was adopted as an official language of publication of the PCT at the same official meeting, showing the expansion of documentation standards as world patenting activity increases in some areas around the globe.[3]

PCT Minimum Documentation as defined by WIPO can be found in one part (Part 4) of the WIPO Handbook on Industrial Property Information and Documentation, available at http://www.wipo.int/standards/en/. The WIPO Handbook also includes WIPO Standards (in Part 3) which provide guidelines and recommendations for coordinating the industrial property information activities of WIPO member countries. WIPO Handbook material is periodically revised to include new PCT Minimum Documentation sources (including both patent and non-patent literature sources) or to delete old sources that have gone out of publication.[4]


Sources

  1. PCT Newsletter. No. 11/2003. Published November 2003. WIPO website, http://www.wipo.int/edocs/pctndocs/en/2003/pct_news_2003_11.pdf. Accessed on March 17, 2008.
  2. "Korea's status upgraded as intellectual property power." www.Korea.net. October 5, 2005. http://www.korea.net/news/news/NewsView.asp?serial_no=20051004016&part=102&SearchDay=. Accessed on March 17, 2008.
  3. WIPO Press Release 427, Geneva, October 5, 2005. WIPO website, http://www.wipo.int/edocs/prdocs/en/2005/wipo_pr_2005_427.html. Accessed on March 17, 2008.
  4. "Periodicals which have been deleted from the original list, including those for which publication has been discontinued." Handbook on Industrial Property Information and Documentation. Ref: PCT Minimum Documentation. Appendix 1. Page 4.2.35. WIPO website, http://www.wipo.int/standards/en/pdf/04-02-02.pdf. Accessed on April 30, 2009.

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