Managing IP is part of the Delinian Group, Delinian Limited, 8 Bouverie Street, London, EC4Y 8AX, Registered in England & Wales, Company number 00954730
Copyright © Delinian Limited and its affiliated companies 2023

Accessibility | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Modern Slavery Statement

Belgium: Supplementary international search system reviewed

During the 47th session of its assembly, held from October 5 to 14 2015, the PCT Union reviewed the supplementary international search system.

The supplementary international search system entered into force on January 1 2009 and was devised to allow PCT applicants to request one or more additional searches by searching authorities different from the International Searching Authority performing the main international search, allowing to focus on different language documents or searching subject matter which had not been searched by the International Searching Authority. The first year the system was in force, 25 requests were filed for a supplementary international search, a number which in 2014 had grown to a total of 102 requests. This however pales in comparison to the approximately 200,000 PCT patent applications or the approximately 15,000 requests for international preliminary examination which are filed annually. Hence, one could conclude that the supplementary international search is not very popular. Therefore, in advance of the PCT Union Assembly, the PCT Working Group decided to review the system and identified several shortcomings.

One of the main shortcomings the PCT Working Group identified is the fact that the supplementary international search is only offered by seven international authorities, being Russia, Sweden, the Nordic Patent Institute, Austria, Finland, the European Patent Office and only very recently, as of September 1 2015, Singapore. These Supplementary International Searching Authorities only offer searches in a limited set of languages, being West and North European languages, Russian, and only very recently Chinese as offered by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore. As such, the possibilities of complementing the international search with different language documents by means of the supplementary international search are limited, since other important languages, such as Japanese, Korean, Arabic and Spanish are lacking.

At present, no other international authorities have shown any interest in providing the supplementary international search, citing among other things the low level of interest from applicants. In attempts to increase its popularity the supplementary international search system is confronted with the classic chicken-or-egg conundrum. Other international authorities have objected to the supplementary international search, as they put more belief in improving the results of the main international search, for example by providing a collaborative search by different international authorities for which a pilot project was proposed in February 2015.

One of the other main hurdles for the more widespread adoption of the supplementary international search, as indicated by the applicants, is the relatively high fees which are charged for the search, considering it can be partially based on the previous international search and does not need to be accompanied by a written opinion.

For this reason, the PCT Union Assembly decided to keep promoting the supplementary international search with both the applicants and the International Searching Authorities, which are not yet offering the service and to invite the International Authorities which already offer supplementary international searches to consider reviewing the scope of their services provided and consequently the levels of fees charged. In 2020, the PCT Union Assembly plans to again review the system taking into account the results of pilot projects on collaborative search.


Johan Aerts

GEVERS Holidaystraat, 5B-1831 Diegem - BrusselsBelgiumTel: +32 2 715 37 11Fax: +32 2 715 37

more from across site and ros bottom lb

More from across our site

Counsel are eying domestic industry, concurrent PTAB proceedings and heightened scrutiny of cases before institution
Jack Daniel’s has a good chance of winning its dispute over dog toys, but SCOTUS will still want to protect free speech, predict sources
AI users and lawyers discuss why the rulebook for registering AI-generated content may create problems and needs further work
We provide a rundown of Managing IP’s news and analysis coverage from the week, and review what’s been happening elsewhere in IP
A technical effect must still be evident in the original patent filing, the EBoA said in its G2/21 decision today, March 23
Brands should not be deterred from pursuing lookalike producers, and an unfair advantage claim could be the key, say Emma Teichmann and Geoff Steward at Stobbs
Justice Mellor’s highly anticipated ruling surprised SEP owners and reassured implementers that the UK may not be so hostile after all
The England and Wales High Court's judgment comes ahead of a separate hearing concerning one of the patents-in-suit at the EPO
While the rules allow foreign firms to open local offices and offer IP services, a ban on litigation and practising Indian law could mean little will change
A New York federal court heard oral arguments this week in a copyright case pitting publishing giants against a digital library