Charles Clark (no, not that one) has emailed the IPKat to inform him that WIPO has recently announced, in the December PCT Newsletter, that a new search service is due to be launched as from 1 January 2009. This will be known as the Supplementary International Search, under new Rule 45bis PCT (hidden deep inside this pdf document). The point of this, so WIPO says, is to allow applicants to have their international patent application more comprehensively searched in languages other than that in which the ISR is carried out. When this service comes in, the languages that will also be searched, courtesy of the Nordic, Russian or Swedish searching authorities will include Russian, Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic and Danish.
Thursday, 18 December 2008
Of course, all this extra searching will not be free of charge. A supplementary search fee (payable to the IB, naturally) will cost the applicant between 455 and 2,826 Swiss Francs, depending on which institute is selected. The applicant must also request any search no later than 19 months after the earliest priority date, but this should (in theory at least) allow the results to come in before a decision needs to be made on what to do in the national phase (at 30/31 months).
The IPKat can see how this would be a good idea, but only for a very limited selection of applicants and if there is a concern that there might be killer prior art lurking somewhere in one of these languages that has not been translated into a more commonly searched language. It might, however, become much more useful for applicants once Japan and China join the party, which seem to be the most obvious next candidates.