MPEP 1844
The International Search Report

Ninth Edition of the MPEP, Revision 10.2019, Last Revised in June 2020

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1844    The International Search Report [R-07.2015]

PCT Article 18

The International Search Report

  • (1) The international search report shall be established within the prescribed time limit and in the prescribed form.
  • (2) The international search report shall, as soon as it has been established, be transmitted by the International Searching Authority to the applicant and the International Bureau.
  • (3) The international search report or the declaration referred to in Article 17(2)(a) shall be translated as provided in the Regulations. The translations shall be prepared by or under the responsibility of the International Bureau.

The results of the international search are recorded in the international search report (Form PCT/ISA/210), which, together with the written opinion of the International Searching Authority (Form PCT/ISA/237) is transmitted with Form PCT/ISA/220. The search report will be published by the International Bureau and, together with the written opinion of the International Searching Authority, will serve as a basis for examination of the international application by the designated Offices and the International Preliminary Examining Authority.

The search report is only for the purpose of identifying prior art and should not contain any expressions of opinion, reasoning, argument or explanation as to any cited prior art. Such comments should be included in the written opinion of the International Searching Authority.

The printed international search report form (Form PCT/ISA/210) to be transmitted to the applicant and to the International Bureau contains two main sheets ("first sheet" and "second sheet") to be used for all searches. These two main sheets are intended for recording the important features of the search such as the fields searched and for citing documents revealed by the search. The printed international search report form also contains five optional continuation sheets for use where necessary. They are the: "continuation of first sheet (1)," "continuation of first sheet (2)," "continuation of first sheet (3)," "continuation of second sheet" and "patent family annex," respectively. The patent family annex sheet is not currently used by the United States International Searching Authority since patent family information is not readily available to the examiner. The "continuation of first sheet (1)" is to be used only when the international application includes a nucleotide and/or amino acid sequence and indicates the basis on which the international search was carried out, since the relevant listings may be filed or furnished at different times and in different forms. The "continuation of first sheet (2)" is used where an indication is made on the first sheet that claims were found unsearchable (item 2) and/or unity of invention is lacking (item 3). The relevant indications must then be made on that continuation sheet. The "continuation of first sheet (3)" is to contain the text of the abstract where an abstract or an amended abstract has been established by the International Searching Authority (item 5) and an indication to that effect is made on the first sheet. The "continuation of second sheet" is to be used where the space on the second sheet is insufficient for the citation of documents. The form also includes an "extra sheet" which may be used whenever additional space is required to complete information from the other sheets.

It is to be noted that only the "second sheet", the "continuation of second sheet" (if any), the "continuation of first sheet (2)" (if any), and the "extra sheet" (if any), as well as any separate sheet with information on members of patent families, will be the subject of international publication, as the "first sheet," "continuation of first sheet (1)" (if any), and the "continuation of first sheet (3)" (if any) contain only information which will already appear on the front page of the publication of the international application (PCT Rule 48.2(b) ).


The international search report (PCT Rule 43 ) contains, among other things, the citations of the documents considered to be relevant (PCT Rule 43.5 and Administrative Instructions Section 503 ), the classification of the subject matter of the invention (PCT Rule 43.3 and Administrative Instructions Section 504 ) and an indication of the fields searched (PCT Rule 43.6 ). Citations of particular relevance must be specially indicated (Administrative Instructions Section 505 ); citations of certain special categories of documents are also indicated (Administrative Instructions Section 507 ); citations which are not relevant to all the claims must be cited in relation to the claim or claims to which they are relevant (Administrative Instructions Section 508 ); if only certain passages of the cited document are particularly relevant, they must be identified, for example, by indicating the page, the column or the lines, where the passage appears (PCT Rule 43.5(e) ).