The International Search Report (“ISR”) is a fundamental part of the PCT procedure. Once a PCT application is filed, an International Search Authority (ISA) performs a search of the prior art, and provides the results to the applicant in the form of an ISR. The applicant can use the ISR to gain an insight into what prior art they might encounter during examination after national phase entry.
An ISA is, in effect, a patent office with its PCT hat on. Most ISA searchers and examiners are simply examiners at their local patent office, with special training in the special requirements of the PCT (note: the USPTO outsources some of its PCT International Searches to private search companies).
There are presently 15 ISAs. Every Receiving Office allows applicants access to at least one ISA. Some countries allow PCT applicants to choose from more than one ISA.
inovia‘s Small Business Solutions Team works with startups and solo inventors across the globe to assist with the international patent filing process. Led by inovia‘s Senior Patent Attorney, Jeff Shieh, the team walks patent applicants through the stages necessary to gain international patent protection and, ultimately, how to proceed in doing so. As one might expect, we hear many of the same recurring questions from our clients, so we sat down with Jeff to compile a list of these frequently asked questions:
A provisional application is a patent application filed with the USPTO that serves as a low-cost option for establishing a priority date. Like regular patent applications, provisional applications comprise of the specification and drawing (if drawings are necessary for the understanding of the invention). However, provisional applications are not required to have claims, an oath or declaration from the inventor or an Information Disclosure Statement (IDS). Furthermore, provisional applications are not published nor are they examined on the merits. Currently, the provisional application filing fee is $260 for regular applicants, and $130 and $65 for small entities and microentities, respectively.