10.010. At what stage of the procedure should the demand for international preliminary examination be submitted? A demand may be submitted at any time prior to the expiration of the following time limits, whichever expires later:
(i) three months from the date of transmittal to the applicant of the international search report and the written opinion of the International Searching Authority, or of the declaration, referred to in Article 17(2)(a) that no international search report will be established; or
(ii) 22 months from the priority date.
In addition, in respect of some Offices (see paragraph 5.005), in order to secure the full effect of the demand – including the delaying of the national phase until 30 months from the priority date – it must be submitted before the expiration of 19 months from the priority date. Since international preliminary examination will normally not start before the international search report and the written opinion of the International Searching Authority are available (see paragraphs 10.051 to 10.055) and provided that the International Preliminary Examining Authority will not start the preliminary examination before the expiration of the applicable time limit unless the applicant expressly requests an earlier start, the applicant will normally wish to take that report and opinion into account before deciding whether to proceed further on his quest for patent protection. Note, however, that the 19-month time limit will expire regardless of whether the establishment of the international search report and the written opinion of the International Searching Authority are delayed. On the other hand, the length of time available for the international preliminary examination depends on the earliest possible submission of the demand after the international search report and the written opinion of the International Searching Authority are available, since the international preliminary report on patentability (Chapter II of the PCT) must in most cases be established before the expiration of 28 months from the priority date, or six months from the time provided for the start of the international preliminary examination, or six months from the date of receipt by the International Preliminary Examining Authority of the translation furnished by the applicant, if applicable, whichever period expires last (see paragraph 10.074). The more time available for the international preliminary examination, the better will be the result and quality which can be expected. Therefore, a demand should be filed as soon as possible after the applicant’s evaluation of the international search report and the written opinion of the International Searching Authority has shown that it is worthwhile to pursue the international application further.
Date retrieved: 24 November 2017