Examination of an international application

Following receipt of the international search report (ISR) and written opinion you have the option to file a request with us for an international preliminary examination. This option provides you the opportunity to further evaluate the chances of getting a patent before you file applications in individual countries. You are able to amend any part of your PCT application at this stage to overcome any issues identified in the previous examination report.

Once your request is received, we will assess your PCT application and may issue a provisional report before our final report. We will issue a provisional report to give you the opportunity to overcome any issues we have identified, either by filing amendments or arguing your case.

The international preliminary examination stage concludes when we issue our final report, the International Preliminary Report on Patentability (IPRPII). This report will be issued no more than 28 months from the earliest priority date. It may be issued earlier if:

  • we believe there are no issues with your application; or
  • when you filed your request, you did not file any amendments or arguments regarding problems raised in the ISR and examination report.

Our findings will not grant you a patent. The granting of patent protection remains the responsibility of the national or regional offices where you enter the national phase.

While the IPRPII is authoritative, and may be considered during the national phase, it is not binding in these offices. For further details on the interpretation of our reports, see WIPO.

ePCT is our preferred method for filing a request for preliminary examination and responding to provisional reports (including amendments).

Examination costs

See PCT fees.

Length of the examination process

You must file request international preliminary examination by 22 months from the earliest priority date.

We will issue the International Preliminary Exam Report on Patentability within 28 months from the earliest priority date.

Last updated: 
30 May 2016