Collaborative Search and Examination (CS&E)

The operational phase

From 1 July 2018 to 1 July 2020, the IP5 Offices conducted a pilot project to test a collaborative approach to international searches under the PCT, in particular with a view to assessing the users' interest for such a new PCT product and the expected efficiency gains for the participating offices.

The main features of this Collaborative Search and Examination (CS&E) pilot project were:

  • an applicant-driven approach: the applications processed during the pilot were selected by applicants;
  • a balanced workload distribution: all collaborating International Authorities contributed to the establishment of each CS&E work product; each office processed up to 100 international applications in its role as "main ISA" and approximately 400 international applications in its role as "peer ISA" over two years;
  • a common set of quality and operational standards were applied by all collaborating International Authorities when processing the PCT applications.

The process model of this collaborative scheme is summarised in the graphic below:

icon CSE model 

(click to enlarge)

While the pilot initially started with international applications filed in English, some Offices opened the pilot to applicants filing their international applications in another language. In such cases, applicants were required to provide English translations upon filing their international applications.

(click to enlarge)

The evaluation phase

On 1 July 2020, the pilot entered an evaluation phase during which all IP5 Offices assessed the entry of international applications processed collaboratively into their respective national or regional phases and reported on an agreed set of quality and operational indicators. 

During this evaluation phase, the IP5 Offices also surveyed pilot participants and consulted interested user groups to obtain further feedback and analysis.

Upon conclusion of the evaluation phase, the IP5 Offices presented an evaluation report, including recommendations to the IP5 Heads of Office.

The conclusion of the pilot

At their annual meeting in June 2023 in Honolulu, USA, the IP5 Heads of Office adopted the final report of the IP5 Collaborative Search and Examination Pilot under the PCT. The report concludes that the project will not be implemented for the time being in its piloted form. Further information is available in the IP5 joint statement.