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USPTO And EPO Agree on Patent Cooperation

by Glen Shapiro, LawAndTax-News.com, New York

11 February 2011


The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the European Patent Office (EPO) have reported that they have reached an agreement on the principles of their new cooperative patent classification (CPC).

The joint classification system, first announced in October last year, will be co-managed by the EPO and the USPTO. The CPC will be based on the international patent classification (IPC) system, which is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization. Unlike other major patent document classification systems, the US patent classification system is not based on the IPC system, because it predates it.

The CPC will use the European classification system as a basis, and incorporate the best classification practices of the USPTO. The jointly developed classification system will be more detailed than the IPC, to improve patent searching. As a result, it was said, the two offices would move closer to eliminating the unnecessary duplication of work between the two offices, thus promoting more efficient examinations while also enhancing patent examination quality.

A governance structure and a quality management process have also been designed, and an implementation plan outlined. A CPC training pilot will be held at the USPTO in March 2011 to define training needs and explore training techniques, and a follow up meeting is scheduled for spring 2011.

TAGS: patents | law | intellectual property | patent search | United States | regulation | European Union (EU) | Europe

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