11.074. To what extent is the international preliminary examination confidential? Where the applicant requests international preliminary examination, Article 38 expressly provides that the International Bureau and the International Preliminary Examining Authority may not allow unauthorized access to the file of the international preliminary examination. Access by third parties to papers relating to the international preliminary examination held in the files of the International Bureau and the International Preliminary Examining Authority thus will be permitted only if that is requested or authorized by the applicant. Once the international preliminary report on patentability (Chapter II of the PCT) has been established, the report is communicated to elected Offices. Third parties may be able, if the national law applicable by an elected Office so provides or permits, to gain access to the report as part of the application file of the elected Office. Furthermore, the International Bureau will, if so requested by an elected Office (details of such requests are published in the Official Notices (PCT Gazette)), furnish copies of the international preliminary report on patentability (Chapter II of the PCT) on behalf of an elected Office that has made such a request. After the international preliminary report on patentability (Chapter II of the PCT) has been established, elected Offices may gain access to the file of the International Preliminary Examining Authority. However, the International Preliminary Examining Authority shall not provide access to any information in its file in respect of which it has been notified by the International Bureau that the information has been omitted from international publication or public access (see paragraphs 9.016A and 11.073A). In addition, in respect of international applications filed on or after 1 July 1998, an elected Office may, in turn, allow access by any person to documents on its file which relate to the international preliminary examination. Such access may be allowed only to the same extent as provided by the national law for access to the file of a national application, and may not be given before the international publication of the international application. The furnishing of copies of documents may be subject to reimbursement of the cost of the service.
Date retrieved: 24 November 2017