PCT Reform: PCT Quality Framework Task Force
At the third session of the Working Group on Reform of the PCT, the United Kingdom presented a paper (see document PCT/R/WG/3/4) containing proposals for "a program for sustained quality and efficiency." Following discussion (see the Chairman's summary in document PCT/R/WG/3/5 at paragraphs 101 to 111), the Working Group agreed that work should continue along the following two paths:
- The standards to which PCT search and examination should conform should be established in the PCT International Search and Preliminary Examination Guidelines. Work should continue on revision of those Guidelines, which would be needed by January 1, 2004, when the recently adopted enhanced international search and preliminary examination system comes into effect. This work is under way in the forum of the Meeting of International Authorities under the PCT.
- A "virtual" task force should be established to consider which of the other matters in the UK paper, together with others suggested by other delegations in the meeting, including quality maintenance and consistency, should be taken forward and how.
These pages record the work of the task force, which has now discharged its mandate and is considered disbanded (see paragraph 81 of document PCT/R/WG/4/14).
Summary of the Discussion
To begin the work of the task force, the United Kingdom Patent Office, which was asked by the Working Group to act as coordinator, provided a further discussion paper [DOC], (also available in French [DOC]), setting out possible elements of a quality framework.
Comments were invited on that paper or any other matter which was considered to fall within the mandate of the task force (set out in paragraphs 102(ii) and (iii), 110 and 111(b) of document PCT/R/WG/3/5). Broadly this relates to considering the need for, and form of:
- quality management criteria for ensuring that the quality standards defined by the International Search and Preliminary Examination Guidelines are achieved and maintained; and
- a review mechanism for achieving compliance with the quality management criteria and quality standards.
The United Kingdom Patent Office then provided a draft interim report [DOC] on the work of the task force so far and further comments were invited, prior to the report being presented to the Meeting of International Authorities under the PCT ("PCT/MIA") (see document PCT/MIA/8/5) and the Working Group on Reform of the PCT (see document PCT/R/WG/4/12).
The views expressed by PCT/MIA and the Working Group are recorded in documents PCT/R/WG/4/12 Add.2 and PCT/R/WG/4/14 (see paragraphs 72 to 81) respectively. The Working Group recommended that the framework set out in Annex I of document PCT/R/WG/4/12, with certain modifications recorded in document PCT/R/WG/4/14, should be incorporated into the draft PCT International Search and Preliminary Examination Guidelines which were under review by PCT/MIA.
The task force was considered to be formed from any State or organization which might be represented in the Working Group.