June 6, 2012 — At EPO’s invitation, the Heads of the world’s five largest intellectual property offices (“IP5”) met in Europe today to take stock of the progress achieved since the launch of the IP5 cooperation in 2007 and explore ways of further optimising their joint efforts to improve the quality and efficiency of the examination process for patents worldwide. These Offices handle, together, nearly 90% of the world’s patent applications.
The IP5 Heads of Office also met with industry representatives from their respective regions. At this high-level meeting, – the first of its kind -, they sought input from users on their needs concerning the orientation of the IP5 cooperation. Responding to the views put forward by industry, the five Heads expressed their common conviction that the focus of future IP5 initiatives should be even more user-directed.
Benoît Battistelli, President of the European Patent Office (EPO), Yoshiyuki Iwai, Commissioner of the Japan Patent Office (JPO), Kim Ho-Won, Commissioner of the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), Tian Lipu, Commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China (SIPO), and David Kappos, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) welcomed the progress made in significant cooperation areas such as classification, machine translation of patent documents and work-sharing. These developments were also acknowledged by Francis Gurry, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), attending in an observer capacity.
With a view to the future, the Heads of Office had an initial exchange of views on the “Cloud Patent Examination Solution (CPES)” and “Global Dossier” concept, which are aimed at simplifying procedures for patent applicants and improving the efficiency of the offices when dealing with the same patent application. Simultaneously, they welcome the establishment of an expert panel to continue to discuss patent harmonisation, noting the importance to maintain the momentum. They reaffirmed agreement made last year in Tokyo to accelerate the Common Hybrid Classification Project under a revised mandate which takes into account the launching of a new classification scheme developed by USPTO and EPO (CPC) from January 1st 2013. They also reflected on the realignment of the 10 IP5 Foundation Projects to address more effectively the challenges of a rapidly evolving IP landscape. A further key issue was the definition and implementation of a joint strategy to improve work-sharing.
The Heads reaffirmed, moreover, their commitment to improving the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) as the primary work-sharing framework. The PCT already enables applicants to seek simultaneous patent protection with a single international application for up to 145 countries.
The next Heads of Office meeting will be hosted by the USPTO in 2013.