Quick Navigation



International harmonisation in progress

06 June 2013 - No comments »

EPO President Benoît BattistelliFor many years, industry has been calling for international harmonisation of the patent system – an understandable demand that has been further amplified by the accelerating pace of globalisation. Harmonisation can take various forms, focusing on substantive law and/or technical cooperation, and can be discussed in bilateral or multilateral frameworks. Whatever the approach may be, the main aim in my view must be to achieve concrete results that will benefit a wide community.

I am particularly pleased, therefore, by the outcomes of the discussions between the EPO and the IP offices of the US, China, Japan and Korea at this week’s IP5 meeting in Cupertino, in the heart of Silicon Valley. First, two major developments were announced in relation to the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC), co-managed by the EPO and the USPTO. The patent offices of China and Korea officially stated their intention to begin classifying their patent documentation into the CPC, from January 2014 in the case of SIPO, while the Korean Office will start with a pilot for specific technical areas. This will dramatically improve the patent system at the global level: in the medium term, 75% of the world’s prior art will be classified by the same scheme. A comprehensive, precise and regularly updated patent classification system represents the best basis for high-quality searching.

A further important step was taken with the launch, on 4 June, of the English-Japanese language pair in Patent Translate, the EPO’s free-of-charge web-based machine translation service. Given the importance of Japanese documentation in technology, this development – the result of intensive cooperation with our colleagues at the Japan Patent Office – will be greatly appreciated by users. About half of the total of three million Japanese patents have already been loaded into our Espacenet database and are now instantly accessible in English translation; the rest will follow soon.

Finally, a number of projects within the specific framework of IP5 are moving steadily forward. The adoption of a common patent information policy based on barrier-free exchange of data between offices is an especially significant development. I would also like to draw attention to the progress on the Global Dossier initiative, in particular concerning access to patent family files from the different offices through a federated viewer. Once again, a full day of the meeting was devoted to exchanges with representatives of the IP5 business communities, whose input is always highly valued.

The next IP5 meeting will be held in Busan, South Korea’s second-largest city, at the beginning of June 2014. In the meantime, the various working groups will continue to discuss the issues involved in international harmonisation at the technical level.

Benoît Battistelli


  • Share this post:

Older posts

Tribute to our brilliant inventors

The European Inventor Award (EIA) ceremony held in Amsterdam on 28 May was a wonderful opportunity to pay tribute to some of our most creative and inspiring inventors. Many representatives […]

Universities, innovation and patents

The tasks of a patent office include the dissemination of patent information as well as the examination of patent applications. To me, the former is just as important as the […]

Europe Day to celebrate a strong and successful European patent system

This week, to mark Europe Day on 9 May, I was very pleased to welcome to Munich Mr Rapkay from the European Parliament, who played an instrumental role in the unitary […]

PATLIB centres – patent information takes centre stage

Last week in Munich, we had the pleasure of holding the Patent Library (PATLIB) seminar. This event, first held in 1990, brings together a large number of patent information centres […]

The epi turns 35

This year, the Institute of Professional Representatives before the European Patent Office (epi) is celebrating the 35th anniversary of its foundation, and I was very pleased to be present at […]

Language matters

Last week, in Paris, I put my signature to a Memorandum of Understanding between the EPO and the Institut français on the subject of French language training. Similar agreements for […]

Moving ahead with the unitary patent: the Select Committee holds its first meeting

After the adoption of the EU regulations on the unitary patent in December 2012 and the recent signing of the international agreement on the Unified Patent Court, a further milestone […]

Pushing for quality: messages from the EPO’s economic and scientific advisers

This week, the EPO’s Economic and Scientific Advisory Board (ESAB) published the results of its activities in 2012, investigating three topics of its own choosing: fee policy, quality and patent […]

Women’s Day

Today, 8 March, is International Women’s Day. This is an occasion to reflect on the EPO’s attitude to the position of women and on what it does as an employer […]