Improving search documentation for the international patent system

The PCT Minimum Documentation Task Force met to discuss forthcoming changes that will improve the quality of international patent searches.

From 22 to 25 April 2024, the EPO hosted the 7th session of WIPO’s PCT Minimum Documentation Task Force online. Good progress was made on the implementation of the new legal and technical requirements, to which PCT Authorities and other major offices should conform by 1 January 2026. These new provisions governing PCT minimum documentation will increase the number of patent collections available to International Searching Authorities, facilitate their accessibility, and thus further enhance the quality of international searches for the benefit of all stakeholders of the patent system, especially the users.

At the Task Force meeting, the 28 delegations agreed on new technical provisions implementing the new Rules, as well as on a roadmap and milestones to ensure that all PCT Authorities will be ready on time. These advances follow the milestone reached in July 2023 when the PCT Assembly adopted a revised legal framework for the legal and technical requirements governing international searches.

The participating Offices also shared their respective preparation plans, addressed issues of common interest, and agreed to continue cooperating closely on this important endeavour in support of the international patent system.