All the tasks expected of the International Bureau under the PCT in processing international applications were carried out in a timely manner. Those tasks were numerous, and included, inter alia, formal examination, containing bibliographic data, dispatch of notifications, monitoring of time limits, information provision to external parties, printing of pamphlets and the Gazette translations in English and French and transactions of fees.
Prepared for application of a number of important changes to PCT rules which are to enter into force on July 1, 1998. For example, changes to Rule 12.3 allow that a larger array of languages may be used in filing; changes to Rule 17.1 expand the definition of priority document to include international applications; changes to Rule 94 allow for access to PCT files by third parties. Examiners underwent detailed training regarding rule changes.
Designed and began to implement improvements to its main computer database, CASPIA, enabling the expedited processing of international applications.
Prepared for coping with a large additional increase in workload as from September 1998, when the very high number of international applications received during the early months of the year will need to be prepared for publication.
Implemented with the Information Systems Section a new program (PAMSCAN) where pamphlets are scanned and captured on electronic tapes, for conversion by an outside firm into CD-ROM and distribution to subscribers. This was a significant step in the modernization of operations.
Published as from April the PCT Gazette in a new bi-lingual format on paper and in electronic form on CD-ROM and on the Internet.
Reorganized the former section into two sections to improve efficiency of operations. Computer access was increased, so all translators are now able to use electronic dictionaries and terminology databases. Staff underwent in-house training in order to improve their relevant computer skills.
Engaged freelance staff to make significant progress on the volume of international preliminary examination reports awaiting translation. Improved work-flow monitoring was introduced within the translation sections. A feasibility study examined the use of computer translation tools; recommendations were being discussed and an experimentation phase was planned.
The Examination, Publications, Translation, RO/IB, and Special Support Sections fulfilled their operational mandate in compliance with the strict time frames and other legal requirements of the PCT. This work ensured timely processing of international applications and related work, despite a much higher than expected increase in the number of such applications. The actual results of this sub-program were highly satisfactory, as given in the table below which compares the results achieved with what were forecast for the period under review.
Sub-program 13. 1Management and Operation of the PCT System
(figures in bold are for January-May period)
(including 9% growth over 1997)
(from 01/01/98 to 31/05/98)