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:
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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.
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The evaluation phase
Since 1 July 2020, the pilot has entered into an evaluation phase during which all IP5 Offices are assessing the entry of international applications processed collaboratively into their respective national or regional phases and reporting on an agreed set of quality and operational indicators.
During this evaluation phase, the IP5 Offices will also survey pilot participants and consult interested user groups to obtain further feedback and analysis.
When the evaluation phase is concluded, the IP5 Offices will present an evaluation report including recommendations to the IP5 Heads of Office.