A New Search Authority Option for US PCT Applicants

On March 6th, the USPTO Director and the Director General of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), signed an 8-year arrangement (their words, not ours), opening up the option for US PCT applicants to choose the Philippines as their International Searching Authority (ISA) and International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA).

This week, we break down what this means!

First, there are some rules.

US PCT Applicants

The IPOPHL will act as an ISA provided that (1) the application is submitted in English, (2) the IPOPHL is chosen as a competent authority by the applicant, and (3) the IPOPHL has not received more than 75 international applications from the USPTO during any fiscal quarter. You read that right, 75 international applications in a quarter.

Second, there are cost benefits.

US PCT Applicants

Checking out the latest PCT Applicants Guide, we see that the Philippines’ International Search Fee is 600 USD. This compares favorably to the 2180 USD charged by the USPTO, the 1870 USD charged by the EPO, or even the 879 USD charged by the KIPO. So, in the immortal words of Bob Barker, the price is right. If you are over 80 years old, you’ll know who he is.

Final thoughts

Giving patent owners additional choices and promoting the modernization of PTOs around the world is admirable, but with only 75 international applications per quarter, the average US PCT applicant is unlikely to notice this change. Cue the wah-wah sound effect. 

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