Heads of Patent Offices of Japan, Europe, Korea, China, and the U.S. Discuss Role of Intellectual Property in Achieving SDGs
- Outcome of 15th IP5 Heads of Office Meeting -
June 13, 2022
On June 9, 2022, the IP5 Offices, which consists of the Patent Offices in Japan, Europe, Korea, China, and the U.S., held their 15th IP5 Heads of Office Meeting via videoconference. At the meeting, which was hosted by the European Patent Office. the Heads of the IP5 Offices exchanged views on the role of IP in terms of helping to achieve the SDGs. They also celebrated the 10th anniversary of cooperation between the IP5 Offices and IP5 Industry, reviewed the achievements from IP5 cooperation over the past decade, and agreed to further reinforce cooperation between the IP5 Offices and IP5 Industry. Furthermore, as the first project based on the roadmap for cooperation in the field of new emerging technologies (NET) and AI, they agreed to launch a project proposed by the JPO to collect materials on the examination practices of the IP5 Offices on AI-related inventions.
The number of patent applications filed with the IP5 Offices totaled around 2.78 million in 2020, accounting for around 85% of the approximately 3.28 million patent applications filed worldwide in the same year.
The IP5 Offices have held Heads of Office Meetings since 2007, and have discussed issues such as how to mutually utilize examination results, streamline operating procedures, and improve examination quality at several working-level groups. These include WG1: Classification; WG2: Information Technology; WG3: Examination; StatWG: Statistics; and PHEP: Patent Harmonization. Since 2012, the IP5 Offices have also held meetings with the IP5 Industry, which includes industry representatives from the IP5 regions. This year marks the 10th anniversary of collaboration in this regard.
This year's meeting was held in the form of a videoconference hosted by the European Patent Office.
2．Outcome of the Meeting
(1) Role of IP in terms of helping to achieve the SDGs
The IP5 Offices discussed the contribution of IP systems toward helping to solve global challenges, focusing on Goals 7, 9, and 17 of the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
With Goals 7 and 9 of the SDGs in mind, the Heads of Office exchanged views on innovative solutions and industry initiatives for clean and affordable energy. They also reaffirmed that IP systems play an important role in the development of technologies to alleviate climate change by providing incentives to inventors, as well as supporting research and development. They also shared the recognition that the patent system provides access to a wealth of technology-related information, which helps in policymaking and investment by permitting the identification of trends in green innovation, while reflecting upon the state of energy transitions.
In relation to Goal 17 of the SDGs, it was agreed to further promote innovation to solve global challenges and promote social and economic growth, based on the common recognition that the IP5 framework, including the IP5 Offices and IP5 Industry, is a strong partnership that contributes to the achievement of the SDGs.
In addition, the JPO introduced the Green Transformation Technologies Inventory (GXTI), which will soon be published as a technology category table linked to patent search formulas to provide a comprehensive view of climate change countermeasure technologies, and mentioned the potential of its utilization, to which the other offices responded very positively.
(2) Achievements of IP5 cooperation, and reinforcement of cooperation between IP5 Offices and IP5 Industry
The IP5 Offices invited the IP5 Industry to the 2012 IP5 Heads of Office Meeting, and such meetings have been ongoing ever since. At the recent meeting, they discussed past achievements and future cooperation.
Since the IP5 Offices and IP5 Industry began working together, the Global Dossier proposed by the JPO has enabled examiners and applicants to search for information on the progress of patent prosecution free of charge, and from a single site. The Patent Prosecution Highway, which was once a bilateral initiative, has also been realized as a comprehensive initiative of the IP5 Offices to enable patents to be obtained more quickly and efficiently. In addition, discussions on harmonization of laws and practices have improved the transparency and predictability of each Office's examination practices.
It was agreed to continue to reinforce cooperation between the IP5 Offices and IP5 Industry to ensure high-quality services and user-friendly international patents, through measures such as receiving new project proposals from the Industry.
(3) Launch of a new project on AI-related inventions
The IP5 Offices have agreed to initiate a project proposed by the JPO to collect materials on the examination practices of the IP5 Offices on AI-related inventions.
This project is the first to be agreed upon by the IP5 Offices to advance concrete work on the legal aspects of the roadmap for cooperation regarding new emerging technologies and AI, which was agreed upon by the IP5 Offices at the Heads of Office Meeting held in June last year. Through this project, the IP5 Offices will collect information on the legal texts and examination guidelines that the offices will apply and refer to when examining AI-related inventions, which will then be published on the IP5 website. This project is expected to improve the transparency of the examination practices of the IP5 Offices, and to enhance the predictability of users when they file applications and obtain rights for AI-related inventions at each office.
(Note) Participants in the meeting:
JPO: Mr. MORI Kiyoshi, Commissioner, and other officials
EPO: Mr. António Campinos, President, and other officials
KIPO: Dr. LEE In Sil, Commissioner, and other officials
CNIPA: Dr. SHEN Changyu, Commissioner, and other officials
USPTO: Dr. Kathi Vidal, Director, and other officials
Observers from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO): Dr. Lisa Jorgenson, Deputy Director General, and other officials
IP5 Heads of Office Meeting (Commissioner Mori in foreground)
IP5 Heads along with Dr. Jorgenson, Deputy Director General of WIPO