Matthew Bryan: The PCT assembly approved further amendments of the PCT regulations which establish a supplementary international search system to enable PCT applicants to find additional relevant prior art at an early stage and in additional languages

Experts from the PCT Legal Division in WIPO have worked hard during the whole year and now they can enjoy the fruitful results of their work. They have also great expectations for the forthcoming year because some very important and ambitious projects are expected to finish. More information- directly from Matthew Bryan, Director, PCT Legal Division, WIPO

How would you estimate the passing 2007 year? Was it successful for the WIPO and particularly for your Department?

Yes, it was a successful and productive year for the PCT Legal Division.

What were the main challenges that you had to overcome in your work during this year?

The main challenges that we faced in the PCT Legal Division were:

  • coping with the workload growth in many dimensions;
  • implementing in a timely fashion the amendments to the PCT Regulations;
  • addressing the increasing need for PCT training around the world as well as responding to requests for general PCT information and dealing with problem cases;
  • doing all of the above with very limited human and financial resources.

Which event from the 2007 could you point out as the most significant one? Why?

The PCT Assembly which took place in September/October 2007 was the most significant event for the PCT in 2007 because the Assembly:

  • approved the appointment of the Indian Patent Office and the Brazilian National Institute of Industrial Property as PCT International Searching and International Preliminary Examining Authorities, bringing the total number of such authorities to 15;
  • approved the amendment of the PCT Regulations to add Korean and Portuguese as languages in which international applications may be published; and
  • approved further amendments of the PCT Regulations which establish a supplementary international search system to enable PCT applicants to find additional relevant prior art at an early stage and in additional languages. This new system, which will be available starting in 2009, will give applicants the possibility to request international searches by Authorities in addition to the main search.

These are all significant changes, but the last one is the most far-reaching and potentially revolutionary in the PCT, as it will permit applicants to obtain multiple, language-based prior art searches from those International Searching Authorities willing to participate in this system.

Could we expect new activities and services from the WIPO during the forthcoming year?

Yes, you can. In addition to the new developments noted under question 3, above, the PCT is also making progress with very practical matters such as:

  • the creation of a system through which the International Bureau can obtain priority documents directly from the issuing offices, thus eliminating the need for applicants to furnish them;
  • extending the information published online concerning the countries in which PCT applications have entered the national phase;
  • the creation of a private file inspection system for PCT applications, allowing applicants and their representatives secure access to status information, etc.;
  • adding patent landscaping tools to its PCT search website (http://www.wipo.int/patentscope/en/);
  • the creation of multilingual terminology databases which will result in cross-language searching of published PCT applications; and
  • assisting national patent offices by scanning, OCRing and hosting national patent collections.

What are your personal expectations for 2008?

That the growth in PCT filings will continue, that we will be able to roll out a number of PCT services which will be very useful for applicants, and that our cooperation in the PCT area of WIPO with PCT Offices and Authorities will continue and intensify.