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Guide for applicants, Part 2: PCT procedure before the EPO (Euro-PCT Guide)

The role of the EPO as ISA
The EPO as ISA establishes for each international application an International Search Report (ISR) and a Written Opinion of the International Searching Authority (WO-ISA) under Chapter I PCT (see points 222 ff).
The ISR contains, among other things, the citations of the prior art documents considered relevant, the classification of the subject-matter of the invention and an indication of the fields searched. 
The WO-ISA provides the applicant with a preliminary, non-binding opinion on the issues of novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability. This allows the applicant to assess, already at the search stage, whether to proceed to the national/regional phase. For this and other reasons, in some cases international preliminary examination may have no added value (see points 300 ff). Therefore, before taking a decision on filing a demand for international preliminary examination, applicants are advised to consider carefully the information regarding the usefulness of the procedure under Chapter II PCT.