Each PCT application has to nominate an international search authority to perform international search report. Malaysian PCT applicant has a choice of nominating Australia, European Patent Office, or Republic of Korea to perform the search. The search report contains a list of documents relevant for assessing the patentability of the invention. A written opinion is provided along with the search report to give a detailed analysis of te potential patentability of the invention.
The Republic of Korea is the most popular choice among Malaysians due to PCT schedule of lowest search fees (RM4,259 in May 2012). USA and Canada also nominate Korea to perform the search. According to the PCT Yearly Review 2011, only 16.9% of search report are established by Korea within 17 months of the priority application. The timeliness is important so that the applicant has enough time to come out with proper national phase strategy.
Australia has become an alternative choice for those who are unhappy with the poor timeliness of Republic of Korea. Australia search fee is RM6,347 in May 2012. Singapore and New Zealand also nominate Australia to perform the search. According to PCT Yearly Review 2011, a favorable 89.4% of search report are established by Australia within 17 months of the priority application.
European Patent Office is the least popular choice among Malaysians due to PCT schedule of highest search fees (RM7,834 in May 2012). Germany, France, and even USA placed great dependance on European Patent Office to perform the search. According to PCT Yearly Review 2011, Europe has a fair 61.3% of search report established within 17 months of the priority application.
Our short analysis and recommendation of search authority:
- high timeliness of preparing search report
Republic of Korea
- lowest search fee
- thorough search of patents in Korean language other than patents in English language
European Patent Office
- widely recognized search report
- thorough search of patents in German and French language other than patents in English language
Of course, the market of the invention shall play an important role as well. If market and patent protection is desired in a particular country, than that country shall be chosen as the search authority.