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WIPO search request guidelines

Date Published





  1. Each search request should:
    1. specify the government department or other national authority, institution or organization making or endorsing the search request;
    2. indicate the title of the subject matter of the search request; the title should be a brief designation of that subject matter; the subject          matter itself should be a well-defined single technological problem;
    3. be signed by the requestor and/or the director or other responsible official of the government department, national authority or                institution making the search request.
  2. Each search request should be accompanied by:
    1. a full and detailed description of the subject matter of the search request;
    2. a summary of the description in no more than 150 words;
    3. any drawing necessary for the understanding of the description;
    4. the request specifying the type of information desired.
  3. The search request and the papers accompanying the request have to be written in either one of the following languages: English, French, German or Spanish.
  4. When possible, a search request should also be accompanied by an additional statement, designed to assist in carrying out the search concerning the purpose of the request, any limitation of the search (e.g. by date, country, language or by International Patent Classification units).
  5. The DESCRIPTION in a search request may describe either a solution to a technical problem or a technical problem itself. The description could, for example, be the terms of reference of a laboratory team in respect of one of their specific assignments.

    In drafting the description, the purpose of the request and the intended use of the report should be borne in mind.

    When a solution is described, the search request may help in evaluating the solution particularly by referring to other solutions for the same problem shown in the state of the art.

    When a technical problem is described without a solution, the search request may be helpful in indicating what solutions are already known; in this case, particular care may be necessary in drafting the description of the problem, in order to enable a search of the state of the art to be carried out.

    The problem should be of limited technical scope and explained in sufficient detail to enable the relevant documents to be found.

    ​​​​​​​In the case of some search requests, it may be possible for the solution or the problem to be described with sufficient precision in less than 150 words. Even in these cases, it is requested that a SUMMARY be also provided.
  6. The SUMMARY should restate the most important aspects of the description in abbreviated form.
  7. The REQUEST should specify the type of information desired, bearing in mind that the information must be available from patent documentation. Prices, cost/benefit estimates and other more economically oriented information do not belong to this category.

  8. The search report will contain:
    1. the date on which the search was actually completed
    2. the classification symbols of either the International Patent Classification or the National Patent Classification of the   fields searched identifying the States and the periods to which the report is extended
    3. the citations of the documents considered to be relevant with copies of these documents.

Examples of search requests (and search reports pertaining thereto) are attached to these Guidelines. (see Annex A.2 and Annex A.3).

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