EPO Advisory Board recommendations for improving the patent system

The Economic and Scientific Advisory Board (ESAB) of the European Patent Office (EPO) published its recommendations for improving the patent system.

According to the EPO, the Board pointed out that patent quality is essential to boost innovation, and that this requires measures at both the pre and post-grant stages of the patenting process. “In the pre-grant phase, specific measures are needed to address the speed and quality of patent examination. At the post grant stage, opposition or re-examination proceedings require improvement, together with the litigation system. On this latter point, the establishment of Europe's Unified Patent Courtis expected to make a major contribution.” Moreover, the Board highlights the need to support small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as inventors and universities in dealing with patents.

During this year, the ESAB will address in particular the economic effects of the unitary patent and the Unified Patent Court.

For further information, please click here.

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EPO annual report shows new record in patent filing

The number of patent filings at the European Patent Office (EPO) originating from the 38 EPO member states reached a new peak in 2012, beating the previous record set in 2008.

"The growth of filings from European businesses is a clear indication that industry here has opted to innovate its way out of the economic crisis", EPO President Benoît Battistelli said at the EPO's 2012 annual results in Brussels. Patent filings and grants reached their highest levels ever in 35-year EPO history. Europe remains a powerhouse of innovation, but Asia is a continent to watch.

For further information, please click here; to read in full the annual report 2012, here.

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Agreement on Unified Patent Court signed

The international agreement for establishing a Unified Patent Court (UPC) was signed on Tuesday, February 19, in Brussels by 25 Member States. While Bulgaria is expected to sign in the coming days once internal procedures have been completed, Poland and Spain did not sign the agreement.

It will ensure the uniform applicability of patent law throughout the territories of the signatory countries. The new court will avoid the occurrence of multiple court cases with regard to the same patent in different member states. This will also prevent contradictory court rulings on the same issues. It will also reduce costs of patent litigation. The UPC will be a court common to the contracting member states and thus subject to the same obligations under Union law as any national court.

The Central Division of the Court of First Instance will be located in Paris (France) with specialised sections in London (United Kingdom) and Munich (Germany).

The UPC is the third element of the “patent package”. The two regulations establishing enhanced cooperation for unitary patent protection and its translation arrangements were adopted on 17 December 2012.

For further information on the Unified Patent Court agreement, please click here. To have a better understanding of the ratification progress of the Unitary Patent, please click here.

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Poland will not sign the new legislation on the Unified Patent Court

Polish officials have declared that Poland will not sign the new regulation on the Unified Patent Court, after having declared some months ago their support of this new tool.

The main concerns of Polish authorities relate to the use of foreign languages in the filing procedure, as well as to the fact that trials would take place outside Poland, more precisely in Paris, London or Munich.

Therefore, Poland is not expected to be present in the signature of the International Agreement on the establishment of the Unified Patent Court, an event to be held today at the Council of the European Union.

For further information, please click here.

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European Share in Patent Filings declines

Although the European Patent Office (EPO) announced that European patent filings have increased by 5.7% in 2012, a closer look reveals that the share of European companies in registrations has fallen to 37 %, compared to 38 % in 2011.

Notwithstanding the fact that five member countries (Germany, France, UK, NL and Italy) are still among the 10 countries with the biggest number of registrations, Japanese, Chinese and South Korean companies have succeeded in increasing their registrations much faster than their European competitors.

For further information, please click here.

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The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) organises webinars to deliver information, training and updates on the PATENTSCOPE search system.

The next sessions will focus on “The PATENTSCOPE search system: advanced search” and will be held on January 29 and January 30, 2013.

For further information and registration, please click here.

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A new record of the EPO: European patent filings keep growing

Last year, the European Patent Office (EPO) received 5.7% more patent applications than in 2011, establishing a new record.

According to the EPO, the trends of last year persist:

  • Most applicants came from outside Europe;
  • In the top of applicants are US, Japan, Germany, China and Korea;
  • The number of filings from EPO countries has increased.

The President of the EPO stated that "this new peak in European patent filings for the third year in a row shows that companies from Europe and around the world are continuing to seek protection for their inventions, and that Europe remains an attractive market for new technologies".

For further information, please click here.

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A survey on substantive Patent Law harmonization

The patent offices of Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States and the European Patent Office, initiated a dialogue in 2011 concerning international patent law harmonization. This Group has discussed in detail the following topics in particular:

  • the grace period,
  • publication of applications,
  • treatment of conflicting applications, and
  • prior user rights. 

A survey on these matters has been created in order to collect the opinion of stakeholders, which “will be considered by the Group in determining how to advance the discussions.

To participate in this survey, please click here.

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EPO and USPTO launch Cooperative Patent Classification

The European Patent Office (EPO) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) yesterday launched the Cooperative Patent Classification scheme (CPC), a global classification system for patent documents. The system is the result of a partnership between the EPO and the USPTO in their joint effort to develop a common, internationally compatible classification system for technical documents, in particular patent publications, which will be used by both offices in the patent granting process. The CPC is an ambitious harmonisation product that incorporates the best classification practices of both offices.

For further information, please click here.

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