The USPTO is no longer accepting requests to participate in the Collaborative Search and Examination (CS&E) pilot.  The CS&E pilot is a testbed for a more streamlined and efficient international searching procedure that aims to provide increased certainty for applicants and increased consistency of international examinations.  Under the CS&E pilot program, the world’s five largest IP offices aimed to accept 100 international applications to test the new procedures, and the US has reached its limit.

The CS&E Pilot was launched by the IP5 in late 2018.  The IP5 includes the world’s five largest IP Offices:  US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the European Patent Office (EPO), the Japan Patent Office (JPO), the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), and the National Intellectual Property Administration in China. The CS&E Pilot aimed to test a collaborative approach to international searches under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) in an attempt to improve consistency in search results across different jurisdictions and improve the efficiency of the international searching process. 

The PCT allows applicants to seek protection in multiple countries by filing a single international patent application.  When a PCT application is typically filed, an Examiner from a single patent office prepares an international search report and written opinion identifying potential obstacles to obtaining a patent.  Based on the contents of the search report and written opinion, applicants may select countries in which to continue prosecution in exchange for a fee paid to each country selected.  As prosecution continues in each individual country, Examiners from each country are likely to perform additional searching which may yield results that differ from the preliminary international search due to variations in language and searching techniques, among other things.  These differences can lead to inefficiencies in the process and produce uncertainty for applicants.  The CS&E pilot intends to reduce some of these inefficiencies and provide more certainty for applicants.     

Under the CS&E Pilot, examiners from the IP5 offices collaborate on the search and examination of a single international application. The result is an international search report and written opinion from the chosen patent office based on contributions from all participating offices.  The collaborative approach aims to facilitate work sharing for patent examiners in the IP5 countries and improve predictability for applicants.  The Pilot envisions a balanced workload distribution across the participating offices, calling for each office to process 100 international applications in its role as the primary searching authority who will be predominantly responsible for completing the international search report.  Each office will accept about 400 additional international applications in its role as a peer searching authority, serving to supplement the international search report prepared by the main searching authority. 

The US has reached its limit of 100 applications, and is no longer accepting requests to participate in the pilot.  However, although the US is no longer accepting requests to participate in the pilot, interested applicants can attempt to participate through another International Searching Authority (ISA).

 Are you interested in securing patent rights in multiple jurisdictions outside of the US?  A PCT filing may be right for you.  Contact us and speak with a registered patent attorney today.  



United States Patent and Trademark Office, The USPTO is no longer accepting requests to participate in the IP5 PCT CS&E pilot

United States Patent and Trademark Office, PCT Collaborative Search and Examination Pilot

World Intellectual Property Organization, Collaborative Search and Examination (CS&E)