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

 
 
General
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In its capacity as the International Searching Authority specified for supplementary international search - hereafter referred to as the Supplementary International Searching Authority or SISA - the EPO will carry out a supplementary international search (SIS) at the applicant's request.  
Agreement EPO-WIPO, Annex E 
OJ 2010, 304
WIPO PCT Guide 8.001-8.053  
OJ 2010, 316
PCT Newsletter 4/2011, 9 
1/2012, 10 
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For an overview of the general procedure reference is made to the information in the WIPO PCT Guide. For specific information on the procedure before the EPO acting as SISA reference is made to Annex E to the Agreement EPO-WIPO and the May edition of the Official Journal 2010. 
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A SIS request may be filed with the EPO as SISA in respect of international applications for which on 1 July 2010 the time limit of 19 months from the priority date had not yet expired. 
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The purpose of SIS is to provide the applicant with a supplementary international search report (SISR) in addition to the search carried out under Article 15 PCT by the competent ISA ("main search") (see point 222). In particular, in view of the growing linguistic diversity of the prior art and considering the language knowledge available in the EPO, a SISR established by the EPO can be very useful to applicants.
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Since the SISR is established within 28 months from the priority date it may improve the basis for deciding on national phase entry and - in particular where a SISR is drawn up by the EPO - on whether or not to enter into the European phase. SIS reduces the risk of an applicant being faced with relevant prior art only after incurring considerable expenditure for entry into the national/regional phase. 
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In the procedure before the EPO as SISA no written opinion is established. However, the EPO will provide explanations in an annex to the SISR ("Scope Annex") which are of equal value to the information contained in a written opinion established by the EPO as ISA (WO-ISA) (see point 224).
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If the EPO has acted as SISA and established a SISR, in principle no supplementary European search report will be drawn up in the European phase. Further, the applicant will be invited in a communication under Rule 161 EPC to correct any deficiencies set out in the Scope Annex to the SISR upon entry into the European phase (see point 503). However, as of 1 November 2014 it will be possible for the applicant to pay, within a period of two months, one or more further search fees in respect of any unsearched inventions claimed upon entry into the European phase in order for these to be covered by a further search.
OJ 2013, 503