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Patent Offices Create Common Citation Document

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

15 November 2011

With the launch of a new free-of-charge information service, the Common Citation Document (CCD), it was said that the European Patent Office (EPO), the Japan Patent Office (JPO) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) have “opened a new era of advancing patent harmonization across the globe.”

Originally spurred by requests from industry representatives, the CCD attempts to fill an important gap in the information services for the public and patent offices, by offering a one-stop overview of all documents cited by the EPO, JPO and USPTO in the search process for applications for the same invention pending simultaneously at the three offices.

"It is a milestone achievement in our co-operation, and proof of the immediate benefit the user community and the public can derive from the close co-operation of our three offices," EPO President Benoît Battistelli said at the closing of the three offices’ annual conference near Paris.

It was emphasized that significant progress was made in all projects ranging from technical standards, statistical reports and discussions on patent law issues. Moreover, the three offices agreed to prolong the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) agreements, in relation to work done on private co-operation treaty (PCT) and Paris-route applications, and also to improve on user-friendliness and pending times and conduct a study on quality in PPH procedures.

Looking to future activities, it was indicated that many of their joint projects, such as the CCD and statistical reports, will need to be expanded to the IP5 co-operation level, to include also China and South Korea.

The IP5 is the name given to a forum of the five largest intellectual property offices in the world (USPTO, JPO, EPO, the Korean Intellectual Property Office and the State Intellectual Property Office of the People's Republic of China) that is being set up to improve the efficiency of the examination process for patents worldwide.

"We need to graduate these items to IP5 level to offer room for new projects in our trilateral co-operation," USPTO Director David Kappos added, citing improvements on the PCT as a subject for attention: "Addressing PCT questions both at agenda-setting and implementing level is a priority in the next months."

TAGS: business | patents | law | intellectual property | patent highway | China | agreements | patent search | Korea, South | United States | standards | European Union (EU) | Japan | Europe

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