Top-Up Searching

Date Published

Examiners may sometimes be required to perform informal ‘top-up’ searches in order to quickly identify prior art.

Such top-up searches merely require examiners to conduct a search on their own without the need to form a three person team. Examples of instances when a top-up search may be appropriate can include:

  • Identifying documentary evidence of CGK
  • Identifying prior art documents for use in mosaic objections
  • “Quick and dirty” searches to confirm validity of previous search results and/or to determine whether further searching is appropriate
  • General research to determine the state of the art
  • Repeat of a previous strategy to identify any prior art published since the previous search (eg. P,X or E level citations)

Note: It is a PCT requirement to perform top-up searches at the IPE Demand stage. See Demand and Top-up Search.

Top-up searches are generally not considered to involve significant effort and therefore are NOT considered to be equivalent to an original or additional search, and thus must not be credited as an original/additional search. Where Examiners believe significant work is likely to be involved, a 3PT and/or Senior Examiner should be consulted to determine if an additional search is warranted (see Additional Searching).

Note: The recording of top-up searches in the SIS must comply with the guidance provided in 4.1 Annex D.