The EPO on the global stage

09 October 2012

EPO President Benoît BattistelliThe 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.

Benoît Battistelli

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Categories: International co-operation, The EPO

2 comments on The EPO on the global stage

  1. René A. Alfaro says:

    I have just finished taking a glance at the whole CPC scheme–9 401pages. It is no doubt a commendable crowning achievement that will become a premium reference for the professional patent searcher. What is yet to be seen is whether this magnificent classifying tool will become an optimal retrieving tool as well. I urge both the EPO and USPTO to populate each and every subdivision properly, with the same passion that they poured into assembling the scheme. Only then, the CPC will be fully functional as a global classification system.

  2. EPO says:

    Your acknowledgement of the major step represented by the publication of the CPC scheme is important to the EPO. It indicates that the joint endeavour the EPO and the USPTO has undertaken to set up a comprehensive classification scheme is appreciated by the IP community. You also deserve compliments for having been through the 9 401 pages of the CPC scheme. This is also a remarkable achievement!

    The concerns you raise in your comment are understandable but the reassuring news is that our joint implementation group had already considered them and has put in place measures to mitigate this risk. A robust quality assurance system has been designed and will be in place at the CPC entry into force on 1 January 2013. A comprehensive training program was also developed to ensure that all classifiers in CPC have the adequate knowledge of the scheme to allocate all the required symbols to the publications they will classify. We should not forget that examiners at the EPO and at the USPTO are highly skilled professionals who also need to retrieve patent documents in an efficient way and on a daily basis: proper classification is a cornerstone of their work and therefore they will strive to use this tool to its full potential by using all the available subdivisions.

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