18 October 2019
To strengthen international co-operation on patents, a delegation from the EPO met with representatives of intellectual property offices from around the world on the fringes of the Assemblies of the Member States of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva last week and signed a number of agreements. In all, some 40 official meetings were held with partner organisations, making it a key week for setting the EPO’s international agenda for the coming year.
“Creating an effective IP network with our partners is a high priority under our new Strategic Plan,” said EPO President António Campinos. “Patent offices around the world are sharing a number of challenges ranging from increasing complexity of inventions and growing volumes of prior art to assess. Tackling these challenges jointly will help us to create greater value for users of the IP system worldwide” he said. “The meetings we held in Geneva and the concrete programmes agreed should support our partner offices in streamlining procedures, reducing backlogs while receiving high-quality training and assistance.”
The EPO met individually with the IP5 offices (CNIPA, KIPO, JPO and the USPTO) to take stock on developments and exchange and plan the meetings ahead. In parallel, the EPO set up a formal cooperation framework with JPO through the signature of a comprehensive Memorandum of Co-operation and with the USPTO through a Memorandum of Understanding.
A MoU on Reinforced Partnership, a co-operation programme recently set up by the EPO to streamline patent procedures, was signed with the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia, making it the first intellectual property office in Southeast Asia to conclude this advanced type of bilateral co-operation with the EPO.
A new Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot programme was endorsed by the EPO and INDECOPI Peru, promoting work-sharing between the two offices. This brings to 16 the number of PPH pilots running in co-operation with the EPO.
Other important developments included a Work Plan with IP Australia on technical co-operation, the renewal of an MoU and Work Plan on technical co-operation with Rospatent, the renewal of an agreement on the Cooperative Patent Classification with the Eurasian Patent Office and the renewal of an agreement with Chile and Mexico on the use of the EPO’s online patent search tool EPOQUE Net used by over 45 IP offices in the world. With Argentina, a work plan to detail the activities to carry out under the framework of Reinforced Partnership was also signed.
A meeting was also held with the heads of the IP offices of the EPO’s validation states, namely, Cambodia, Republic of Moldova, Morocco and Tunisia, for an exchange of experiences on validation together with a number of offices which are in the process of joining the system or considering their accession. Through validation, users are offered the possibility to validate their European patents in any of the countries that are part of the system while the national offices can focus their resources on high quality search and examination of national files and pro-active outreach to local innovators.
A further meeting jointly held with the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI), brought together the EPO and the heads of the Latin American offices to foster the EPO’s ties with the region and keep updated on recent developments in the national offices.
EPO representatives also participated in an event organised by WIPO Director General Francis Gurry at which the implications of Artificial Intelligence for the global intellectual property system were discussed.