between the European Patent Organisation and the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization
in relation to the functioning of the European Patent Office as an International Searching Authority and International Preliminary Examining Authority under the Patent Cooperation Treaty
(as in force from 1 July 2010)
The European Patent Organisation and the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization,
Considering that the PCT Assembly, having heard the advice of the PCT Committee for Technical Cooperation, has appointed the European Patent Office as an International Searching and Preliminary Examining Authority under the Patent Cooperation Treaty and approved this Agreement in accordance with Articles 16(3) and 32(3),
Hereby agree as follows:
Article 1 Terms and Expressions
(1) For the purposes of this Agreement:
(a) "Treaty" means the Patent Coopera- tion Treaty;
(b) "Regulations" means the Regulations under the Treaty;
(c) "Administrative Instructions" means the Administrative Instructions under the Treaty;
(d) "Article" (except where a specific reference is made to an Article of this Agreement) means an Article of the Treaty;
(e) "Rule" means a Rule of the Regula- tions;
(f) "Contracting State" means a State party to the Treaty;
(g) "the Authority" means the European Patent Office;
(h) "the International Bureau" means the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization;
(2) All other terms and expressions used in this Agreement which are also used in the Treaty, the Regulations or the Administrative Instructions have, for the purposes of this Agreement, the same meaning as in the Treaty, the Regula- tions and the Administrative Instructions.
Article 2 Basic Obligations
(1) The Authority shall carry out interna- tional search and international prelim- inary examination in accordance with, and perform such other functions of an International Searching Authority and International Preliminary Examining Authority as are provided under, the Treaty, the Regulations, the Administra- tive Instructions and this Agreement.
(2) In carrying out international search and international preliminary exam- ination, the Authority shall apply and observe all the common rules of inter- national search and of international preliminary examination and, in part- icular, shall be guided by the PCT International Search and Preliminary Examination Guidelines.
(3) The Authority shall maintain a quality management system in compliance with the requirements set out in the PCT International Search and Preliminary Examination Guidelines.
(4) The Authority and the International Bureau shall, having regard to their respective functions under the Treaty, the Regulations, the Administrative Instructions and this Agreement, render, to the extent considered to be appropri- ate by both the Authority and the Inter- national Bureau, mutual assistance in the performance of their functions thereunder.
Article 3 Competence of Authority
(1) The Authority shall act as Inter- national Searching Authority for any international application filed with the receiving Office of, or acting for, any Contracting State, provided that the receiving Office specifies the Authority for that purpose, that such application, or a translation thereof furnished for the purposes of international search, is in the language or one of the languages specified in Annex A to this Agreement, that such application is not an application of a kind specified in Annex A to this Agreement and, where applicable, that the Authority has been chosen by the applicant.
(2) The Authority shall act as Interna- tional Preliminary Examining Authority for any international application filed with the receiving Office of, or acting for, any Contracting State, provided that the receiving Office specifies the Authority for that purpose, that such application, or a translation thereof furnished for the purposes of international preliminary examination, is in the language or one of the languages specified in Annex A to this Agreement, that such application is not an application of a kind specified in Annex A to this Agreement and, where applicable, that the Authority has been chosen by the applicant.
(3) Where an international application is filed with the International Bureau as receiving Office under Rule 19.1(a)(iii), paragraphs (1) and (2) apply as if that application had been filed with a receiv- ing Office which would have been competent under Rule 19.1(a)(i) or (ii), (b) or (c) or Rule 19.2(i).
(4) The Authority shall conduct supple- mentary international searches in accordance with Rule 45bis, covering at least the documentation referred to in Annex E to this Agreement, subject to any limitations and conditions set out in that Annex.
Article 4 Subject Matter Not Required to Be Searched or Examined
The Authority shall not be obliged to search, by virtue of Article 17(2)(a)(i), or examine, by virtue of Article 34(4)(a)(i), any international application to the extent that it considers that such application relates to subject matter set forth in Rule 39.1 or 67.1, as the case may be, with the exception of the subject matter specified in Annex B to this Agreement.
Article 5 Fees and Charges
(1) A schedule of all fees of the Authority, and all other charges which the Authority is entitled to make, in relation to its functions as an International Searching Authority and International Preliminary Examining Authority, is set out in Annex C to this Agreement.
(2) The Authority shall, under the condi- tions and to the extent set out in Annex C to this Agreement:
(i) refund the whole or part of the search fee paid, or waive or reduce the search fee, where the international search report can be wholly or partly based on the
results of an earlier search (Rules 16.3 and 41.1);
(ii) refund the search fee where the international application is withdrawn or considered withdrawn before the start of the international search.
(3) The Authority shall, under the conditions and to the extent set out in Annex C to this Agreement, refund the whole or part of the preliminary exam- ination fee paid where the demand is considered as if it had not been submitted (Rule 58.3) or where the demand or the international application is withdrawn by the applicant before the start of the international preliminary examination.
Article 6 Classification
For the purposes of Rules 43.3(a) and 70.5(b), the Authority shall indicate solely the International Patent Classification.
Article 7 Languages of Correspondence Used by the Authority
For the purposes of correspondence, including forms, other than with the Inter- national Bureau, the Authority shall use the language or one of the languages indicated, having regard to the language or languages indicated in Annex A and to the language or languages whose use is authorized by the Authority under Rule 92.2(b), in Annex D.
Article 8 International-Type Search
The Authority shall carry out interna- tional-type searches to the extent decided by it.
Article 9 Entry into Force
This Agreement shall enter into force on 13 December 2007.
Article 10 Duration and Renewability
This Agreement shall remain in force until 31 December 2017. The parties to this Agreement shall, no later than July 2016, start negotiations for its renewal.
Article 11 Amendment
(1) Without prejudice to paragraphs (2) and (3), amendments may, subject to approval by the Assembly of the Inter- national Patent Cooperation Union, be made to this Agreement by agreement between the parties hereto; they shall take effect on the date agreed upon by them.
(2) Without prejudice to paragraph (3), amendments may be made to the Annexes to this Agreement by agree- ment between the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organi- zation and the Authority; and, notwith- standing paragraph (4), they shall take effect on the date agreed upon by them.
(3) The Authority may, by a notification to the Director General of the World Intel- lectual Property Organization:
(i) add to the indications of languages contained in Annex A to this Agreement;
(ii) amend the schedule of fees and charges contained in Annex C to this Agreement;
(iii) amend the indications of languages of correspondence contained in Annex D to this Agreement;
(iv) amend the indications and informa- tion concerning supplementary interna- tional searches contained in Annex E to this Agreement.
(4) Any amendment notified under para- graph (3) shall take effect on the date specified in the notification, provided that, for any change in the currency or amount of fees or charges contained in Annex C, for any addition of new fees or charges, and for any change in the
conditions for and the extent of refunds or reductions of fees contained in Annex C, that date is at least two months later than the date on which the notification is received by the Inter- national Bureau.
Article 12 Termination
(1) This Agreement shall terminate before 31 December 2017:
(i) if the European Patent Organisation gives the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization written notice to terminate this Agreement; or
(ii) if the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization gives the European Patent Organisation writ- ten notice to terminate this Agreement.
(2) The termination of this Agreement under paragraph (1) shall take effect one year after receipt of the notice by the other party, unless a longer period is specified in such notice or unless both parties agree on a shorter period.
In witness whereof the parties hereto have executed this Agreement.
Done at Geneva, this 18 October 2007 and Munich, this 24 October 2007, in two originals in the English, French and German languages, each text being equally authentic.
For the European Patent Organisation by: ALISON BRIMELOW President European Patent Office
For the International Bureau by: KAMIL IDRIS Director General World Intellectual Property Organization
Annex A Languages and Kinds of Application
Under Article 3 of the Agreement, the Authority specifies:
(i) the following languages which it will accept:
English, French, German, and, where the receiving Office is the industrial prop- erty Office of Belgium or the Nether- lands, Dutch;
(ii) the following kinds of application for which it will not act:
(a) as an International Searching Authority and an International Prelim- inary Examining Authority, international applications filed by a national or resi- dent of the United States of America with the United States Patent and Trademark Office or the International Bureau as receiving Office, where such applications contain one or more claims relating to the field of business methods, as defined by the following International Patent Classification units:
G06Q: Data processing systems or methods, specially adapted for administrative, commercial, financial, managerial, super- visory or forecasting purposes; systems or methods specially adapted for admin- istrative, commercial, financial, manage- rial, supervisory or forecasting purposes, not otherwise provided for
G06Q 10/00: Administration, e.g. office automation or reservations; management, e.g. resource or project management
G06Q 30/00: Commerce, e.g. marketing, shopping, billing, auctions or e-commerce
G06Q 40/00: Finance, e.g. banking, investment or tax processing; insurance, e.g. risk analysis or pensions
G06Q 50/00: Systems or methods specially adapted for a specific business sector, e.g. health care, utilities, tourism or legal services
G06Q 90/00: Systems or methods specially adapted for administrative, commercial, financial, managerial, supervisory or forecasting purposes, not involving significant data processing
G06Q 99/00: Subject matter not provided for in other groups of this subclass
(b) as an International Preliminary Exam- ining Authority, international applications where the international search is to be, or has been, performed by an Interna- tional Searching Authority other than the European Patent Office or the industrial property Office of a State party to the European Patent Convention.
Annex B Subject Matter Not Excluded from Search or Examination
The subject matter set forth in Rule 39.1 or 67.1 which, under Article 4 of the Agreement, is not excluded from search or examination, is the following:
all subject matter searched or examined under the European patent grant proce- dure in application of the equivalent provisions of the European Patent Convention.
Annex C Fees and Charges
Part I. Schedule of Fees and Charges
Kind of fee or charge
Search fee (Rule 16.1(a))
Additional fee (Rule 40.2(a))
Supplementary search fee (Rule 45bis.3(a))
Preliminary examination fee (Rule 58.1(b))
Additional fee (Rule 68.3(a))
Protest fee (Rules 40.2(e) and 68.3(e)):
for international applications still pending on 13 December 2007 for international applications filed on or after 13 December 2007
Review fee (Rule 45bis.6(c))
Late furnishing fee (Rule 13ter.1(c))
Part II. Conditions for and Extent of Refunds or Reductions of Fees
(1) Any amount paid by mistake, without cause, or in excess of the amount due, for fees indicated in Part I shall be refunded.
(2) Where the international application is withdrawn or considered withdrawn, under Article 14(1), (3) or (4), before the start of the international search, the amount of the search fee paid shall, upon request, be fully refunded.
(3) Where the Authority benefits from an earlier search (including a privately commissioned "standard" search) already made by the Authority on an application whose priority is claimed for the international application and depending upon the extent to which the Authority benefits from the earlier search in carrying out the international search
1 This fee is reduced by 75% under certain conditions (see decision of the EPO's Adminis- trative Council of 21 October 2008 (CA/D 7/08) OJ EPO 2008, 521).
and any other task entrusted to it, the search fee paid shall be refunded, to the extent provided for in a communication from the Authority to the International Bureau and published in the Gazette. 2
(4) In the cases provided for under Rule 58.3, the amount of the preliminary examination fee paid shall be fully refunded.
(5) Where the international application or the demand is withdrawn before the start of the international preliminary examination, 75% of the preliminary examination fee paid shall be refunded.
(6) The Authority may provide further refunds of the international preliminary examination fee under the conditions and to the extent laid down by it.
(7) The Authority shall refund the supplementary search fee if, before it has started the supplementary inter- national search in accordance with Rule 45bis.5(a), the supplementary search request is considered not to have been submitted under Rule 45bis.5(g).
(8) The Authority shall refund the supple- mentary search fee if, after receipt of the documents specified in Rule 45bis.4(e)(i) to (iv), but before it has started the supplementary international search in accordance with Rule 45bis.5(a), it is notified of the withdrawal of the interna- tional application or the supplementary search request.
2 See Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 24 March 2010, OJ EPO 2010, 320.
Annex D Languages of Correspondence
Under Article 7 of the Agreement, the Authority specifies the following languages:
English, French or German, depending on the language in which the interna- tional application is filed or translated.
Annex E Supplementary International Search: Documentation Covered; Limitations and Conditions
(1) The Authority will accept requests for supplementary international search based on international applications filed in, or translations furnished into, English, French or German.
(2) The supplementary international search shall cover the documents held in the search collection of the Authority including, but not limited to, the PCT minimum documentation under Rule 34.
(3) The Authority will not act for the kinds of application mentioned in Annex A, item (ii)(a) to this Agreement.
(4) Where applicable, the Authority shall start the supplementary interna- tional search in accordance with Rule 45bis.5(a) only if a copy of a sequence listing in electronic form complying with the standard provided for in the Administrative Instructions is furnished under Rule 45bis.1(c)(ii) and thereafter transmitted to it under Rule 45bis.4(e)(iii).
(5) The Authority will conduct a maxi- mum of 700 supplementary international searches per year.
Date retrieved: May 20, 2014