09 October 2012 - 2 comments »
The WIPO General Assembly provides a unique opportunity to meet colleagues from IP offices across the globe. Each day is like a world tour, as more and more countries, large and small, near and far, seek to explore the possibilities of cooperation with the EPO. Here are some of the highlights from last week’s bilateral and multilateral discussions.
The Geneva meeting offers a chance to take stock of current activity programmes and in some cases to finalise cooperation agreements on the spot. This year, I was particularly pleased to sign two agreements: LATIPAT and ARABPAT, the former with 19 countries from Latin America and the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office, and the latter with a group of Arab countries led by Morocco. The two projects, developed in cooperation with WIPO, are designed to improve access to patent information through a regional gate. It is encouraging to see the eagerness of emerging and developing countries to exploit the potential of the patent system to support their own innovation policy and develop their economy.
The IP5 Offices also met in Geneva to follow up the set of actions agreed recently in Corsica. In particular, the USPTO and the EPO reported on the launch of the Cooperative Patent Classification website, anticipating the start of the CPC on 1 January 2013. In parallel, the so-called Tegernsee process, involving the EPO and the patent offices of the US, Japan, Germany, France, the UK and Denmark, was resumed, with a mandate to study and report on topics relevant to patent law harmonisation.
Finally, the human dimension of these face-to-face meetings, strengthening established relationships and facilitating new contacts, also plays an important role in smoothing the path for the continuing development of the global IP system.