The latest IP5 Heads and Industry meeting, held last week in Busan, South Korea, was a good opportunity to assess the progress in implementation of our common projects. It was very encouraging to see that some important steps have been achieved within a few years of launching projects or pilots.
The EPO presented its component of the Global Dossier, which aims at making accessible to the public the complete file of a patent application, including the communications of patent examiners, and its family applications filed in the other four jurisdictions. Thanks to an agreement signed earlier with the Chinese IP Office (SIPO), the EPO service has now gone live, with Chinese file wrapper data retrievable and directly accessible via the European Patent Register. The USPTO, KIPO and the JPO announced that they will take the necessary steps for the Global Dossier to be fully operational at the five Offices by 2015 or 2016. This is a good example of how international cooperation can move straight from high-level discussions to the provision of specific tools.
Last year, the IP5 Offices already announced their intention to work towards the approximation of their practices and procedures, so as to make life easier for users, while reinforcing the overall quality of the patent system. In close cooperation with the Offices, representatives of industry in the five regions drew up a list of areas in which harmonisation could yield major benefits. In Busan, three of the key issues identified by industry were taken up by the IP5 Offices: unity of invention, written description/sufficiency of disclosure and citation of prior art. The first topic, unity of invention, for which the EPO and SIPO are joint leaders, will be addressed by a group of experts in China in October. This exercise is to be carried out in close contact with users, whose input will be sought in the coming months.
The stay in South Korea was also an occasion for the EPO to reinforce its partnership with KIPO, specifically with regard to data exchange and the implementation of the Cooperative Patent Classification. We signed an agreement on a training programme to support KIPO examiners in the transition to the new scheme. The two Offices also co-organised a seminar in Seoul on the unitary patent and the Unified Patent Court. This event attracted a great deal of interest in the Korean user community, which was only to be expected, since Korean companies have been among the EPO’s top applicants for some years (Samsung and LG were Nos. 1 and 4 respectively in 2013).
The next IP5 meeting will be take place in China in 2015. In less than a decade, this informal gathering has gained greatly in significance, focusing more and more on tangible deliveries based on technical expertise, with an increasing involvement of users. This is clearly the best way to define sound, transparent and widely accepted solutions for a balanced evolution of the global patent system.
As many of you are aware, the involvement of the EPO in the Patent Cooperation Treaty (the PCT) has always been a matter of first priority for us. Most of our filings are coming via this international plate-form counting 148 Member States and, as one of PCT authorities (ISA), the EPO produced last year almost […]
The PATLIB conference, a yearly event organised since 1990, took place in Istanbul last week. This year’s conference was dedicated to networking, enabling PATLIB representatives to share experiences and best practices. All our member states were represented, with the number of attendees – 260 – far outstripping the previous record total of 180. The conference […]
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Last week in Trieste, Italy, I attended two meetings involving patent offices and industry from three regions (Europe, the US and Japan), dedicated to the harmonisation of rules, procedures and practices of the patent system. The first meeting was a further session of the so-called Tegernsee group, composed of heads of Office and experts from […]
On 25 March 2014, a comprehensive study titled “Patents and Standards: A modern framework for IPR-based standardization” was published by a policy consortium known as ECSIP, working for the EU Commission DG Enterprise and Industry. Over the past decade, the relationship between standards and patents has become a subject of lively public debate, particularly in […]
Last week in Budapest, I had the pleasure of taking part in the opening of the newly established Training Centre for judges of the Unified Patent Court. This is the first concrete embodiment of the UPC project, which comprises three elements: the Court, the training service and the arbitration and mediation centre. The Hungarian authorities […]
Last week in Brussels, I was particularly pleased to see the strong attendance of journalists and press agencies at the presentation of our annual results for 2013, despite the heavy international agenda on the day. This is surely a sign of growing interest in innovation and patents, which are increasingly in the public eye. The […]
Last week, in Tokyo, I had the pleasure to address Japanese IP specialists from industry at the annual meeting of the Japan Intellectual Property Association (JIPA), which brought together hundreds of JIPA members from all over the country. The EPO enjoys a long-standing relationship with Japanese firms, who have been major users of the European […]
In recent weeks, the ratification of the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court has received a fresh impetus, with the completion by Malta (on 21 January) and France (on 13 February) of the relevant parliamentary procedures, following the example set by Austria in August of last year. Preparations for ratification are also well under way […]