As from 1 July 2014 the EPO as IPEA performs a top-up search in Chapter II PCT in order to reveal further relevant prior-art documents, in particular intermediate prior art, which have been published or have become available to the IPEA after the international search report was established.
A top-up search does not normally extend beyond the subject-matter searched by the ISA as set out in Rule 66.1ter PCT. It is performed in respect of all applications undergoing Chapter II PCT examination, apart from in exceptional cases where the examiner considers that performing a top-up search would serve no useful purpose.
The top-up search is normally performed at the start of Chapter II PCT examination. However, in the case of non-unity where there is more than one invention claimed in the documents for which examination under Chapter II PCT is demanded, the examiner first issues an invitation to pay further examination fees and then performs the top-up search for all inventions for which further examination fees have been paid, provided that any such inventions are not excluded from preliminary examination by the examiner under Rule 66.1(e) PCT.
The top-up search is based on the application documents available at the start of Chapter II PCT examination. However, in the special case that the application is amended but the basis for the amendments could not be found and/or there is no letter explaining their basis in the description, the top-up search may be limited to the scope of the claims forming the basis of the IPER.
If relevant documents are found during the top-up search which give rise to objections as to patentability, the EPO as IPEA issues a second WO along the lines set out under point 372373.
Date retrieved: 24 November 2017
8 references found.Click X to load a reference inside the current page, click on the title to open in a new page.
EPO Guide for Applicants, part II Int.
EPO Guide for Applicants, part II Int. - D The EPO as an IPEA
PCT Implementing Rules
XR.70 PCT International Preliminary Report on Patentability by the International Preliminary Examining Authority (International Preliminary Examination Report)