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

 
 
Establishing the ISR and the WO-ISA
222
For each application the EPO as ISA issues both an International Search Report (ISR) or, in exceptional cases, a "declaration of non-establishment of the ISR" (see point 253) and a Written Opinion of the International Searching Authority (WO-ISA).
223
The procedure for establishing the ISR and the WO-ISA is similar to that for establishing the European search report and the European Search Opinion (ESOP). 
224
The WO-ISA provides the applicant with a preliminary non-binding written opinion on the question whether the claimed invention appears to be novel, to involve an inventive step and to be industrially applicable. A WO-ISA established by the EPO as ISA will be comparable to the written opinion established by the EPO for a Euro-direct application (ESOP) (see point 219).
225
Where appropriate the WO-ISA will also provide an opinion on issues such as added subject-matter, unity of invention, insufficiency of disclosure, support for the claims in the description, clarity, conciseness and formal defects (e.g. missing reference signs).  
226
The WO-ISA may be positive or negative. A WO-ISA is qualified as positive if it contains no objections or only minor objections which would not hinder a direct grant in the European phase. In any other case the WO-ISA is considered negative (see point 229).
227
The ISR is established and then transmitted to the applicant and the IB within three months from receipt of the search copy of the application at the EPO or within nine months from the earliest priority date, whichever time limit expires later.  
WIPO PCT Guide 7.023  
GL/ISPE 16.03 
228
The WO-ISA will be prepared at the same time as the ISR for delivery together with the ISR to the applicant and the IB. The EPO sends the ISR including the WO-ISA to the applicant together with a copy of each document cited in the ISR.
229
If the EPO acted as ISA (but not as IPEA), the applicant must provide a substantive response to any deficiencies set out in the WO-ISA ("negative WO-ISA") upon entry into the European phase ("mandatory response") (see points 503 ff).