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Results of the Sixth Meeting of the IP5 Heads of Office Held in Silicon Valley

On June 5, 2013, the Sixth Meeting of the IP5 Heads of Office was held in the United States, organized by the Japan Patent Office (JPO), the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the European Patent Office (EPO), the State Intellectual Property Office of the People's Republic of China (SIPO), and the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO). The key results of the meeting are as follows:

  1. Approval was given for the operation of a system under which examiners of the IP5 are able to acquire all IP5 Offices' examination results from a one-stop access as well as for the JPO's launching of a pilot program under which the JPO's systems is used in conjunction with the systems maintained by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), leading the rest of the IP5 Offices;
  2. An agreement was reached to adopt a policy which stipulates the ranges or terms of use for certain data exchanged among IP5 Offices, such as patent gazette data; and
  3. Discussions were launched concerning new efforts to be conducted for the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) program.

Through these efforts, it is expected that applicants will be able to acquire stable patent rights in an accelerated manner in overseas countries by utilizing the JPO's patent examination information and that improvement of an environment for referencing certain data will be promoted, where users are able to more easily inquire about how the examination of their applications at overseas offices is progressing as well as to reference patent documents in foreign languages, the number of which is sharply increasing.

1. Background

In 2011, 1.69 million patent applications were filed with IP5 Offices, namely, the JPO, the USPTO, the EPO, the SIPO and the KIPO, accounting for nearly 80% of all the 2.14 million patent applications filed worldwide. In response to this situation, IP5 Offices have been holding the meetings of the IP5 Heads of Office since 2007 consecutively, aiming to lead the global efforts in the intellectual property field. At the meetings, they discuss the challenges to be overcome, including the Offices' mutual access to examination results, simplifying application procedures, and enhancing examination quality, along with providing cooperation concerning the challenges.

2. Summary of the 6th meeting

On June 5, 2013, the Sixth Meeting of the IP5 Heads of Office was held in Silicon Valley, the United States, and they advanced their cooperation concerning the following issues. In addition, taking advantage of the meeting, a meeting was held with IP5 Offices' users, and the participants proactively exchanged views concerning certain issues, including harmonization of patent systems and the PPH program.

1) IP5 Offices' mutual access to patent examination information

Under the framework of IP5 Offices, the Offices have been advancing the establishment of a system under which examiners in the Offices are able to reference patent examination information stored in respective IP5 Offices from a one-stop access. At the 6th meeting, the Offices gave their approval for the official operation of the system in the summer of 2013. Furthermore, they decided to allow external users to access the system in addition to such examiners, and also decided that the JPO will launch a pilot program under which the JPO's system is initially used in conjunction with WIPO systems, leading the rest of the IP5 Offices, so that users can acquire patent examination information in more countries worldwide from a one-stop access beyond the framework of IP5 Offices, aiming to realize a system whereby users are able to access patent examination information in more countries worldwide beyond the framework of IP5 Offices.

As a result of the program, it is expected that the JPO's patent examination information will be available not only to IP5 Offices but also to examiners in many offices along with external users, and that applicants will be able to acquire stable patent rights in an accelerated manner in overseas countries. Furthermore, it is also expected that users' smooth accessibility to examination results overseas will enhance the transparency of patent examinations.

2) IP5 policy on patent information

Concerning patent information, e.g., patent gazette data, subject to prior art search in patent examinations, IP5 Offices reached an agreement for a policy which stipulates [i] the basic principle that IP5 Offices should provide users with patent information at a marginal cost or free of charge; and [ii] the ranges or terms of use of patent gazette data exchanged among such offices.

Promoting stable and smooth exchange of patent information among IP5 Offices complying with this policy is expected to enhance examination quality on the basis of precise patent document search as well as to improve the environment in which users are able to reference patent documents in foreign languages, the number of which is sharply increasing, through more user-friendly procedures.

3) Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) program

The JPO proposed new efforts concerning the PPH program carried out among IP5 Offices, including harmonization of PPH requirements, enhancement of quality and internal management system for delivery, and the other IP5 Offices agreed to advance discussions on this proposal among the Offices in the future. Hereafter, advancing improvement of the program, including harmonization of PPH operations among IP5 Offices, is expected to increase users' convenience in term of examination, such as the availability of highly-qualified patent examinations in an accelerated manner at a lower cost.

Participants of the meeting

Japan Patent Office (JPO):
Mr. Hiroyuki Fukano, Commissioner, and other officials;
United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO):
Ms. Teresa Stanek Rea, Acting Director, and other officials;
European Patent Office (EPO):
Mr. Benoît Battistelli, President, and other officials;
State Intellectual Property Office of the People's Republic of China (SIPO):
Mr. Tian Lipu, Commissioner, and other officials;
Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO):
Mr. Kim Young-min, Commissioner, and other officials
Observer:
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO): Mr. Francis Gurry, Director General, and other officials

3. Future prospects

The JPO will endeavor to promote cooperation in the framework of IP5 Offices and to support Japanese enterprises' global economic activities.

Release Date

June 6, 2013

Division in Charge

International Affairs Division, General Affairs Department, Japan Patent Office

 
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