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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Commission staff working document: Towards enhanced patent valorisation for growth and jobs

The European Commission services have produced a Staff Working Document to serve as a basis for future discussions with other EU Institutions and beyond on the need to enhance patent valorisation. The Staff Working Document presents and analyses the major obstacles European companies, mainly SMEs, have to face in valorising existing patents, especially ‘dormant patents’. While describing the current European initiatives aimed at addressing issues in this area, it also outlines short- to medium- and long-term options for making better use of "dormant patents".

To freely read and download the paper, please click here.

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Leveraging patents for business growth

IP rights are meant to provide companies with a solid foundation for their business success. Patent portfolios, in particular, can be an exceptional means to exploit innovation in the market place and establish business partnerships. This case study shows that even a small company with little money can succeed in a competitive market environment and win against bigger competitors if such a company can leverage its business value using patent rights. Furthermore, thanks to patents' strength and to their efficient management, investors are attracted by the perspective of long-term economic benefits deriving from a business that is IP-protected.

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Managing IP information for international business opportunity

Every day many good ideas and research results are wasted due to a wrong strategic innovation plan; writing a “good patent” does not necessarily mean that an idea is transformed into a “good business”. Before starting with a new technology development or a research project, both entrepreneurs and researchers should carefully develop their knowledge of the state of the art, using IP databases in order to verify if the idea is really new and if there is any blocking patent contained in other similar technologies.

This would prove to be beneficial from the business rollout up to the subsequent internationalisation, and the present case study draws attention to this process.

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Your Europe – a practical guide to doing business in Europe

The Single Market is full of opportunities, in particular to do business in another EU country than your own. It is essential that in this process you are aware of your rights. The website Your Europe can certainly help you get the important information that you need on the Internal Market, as Commissioner Barnier explains here.

On this website, you will also find a webpage dedicated to Intellectual Property Rights, with information concerning the European Union and also each Member State. On Your Europe you will find the main Intellectual Property rules in each country, as well as information on further resources and organizations dealing with Intellectual Property at national level.

On Your Europe you will also find a useful catalogue of available online tools and services for business concerning Intellectual Property Rights.

The information is available in all the languages of the European Union.

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The EU has a new unitary patent

EU inventors will soon be able to get a unitary patent at last. After over 30 years of talks, a new regime will cut the cost of an EU patent by up to 80%, making it more competitive vis-à-vis the US and Japan. Costs for small firms have been cut and the overall regime tailored to their needs, in a compromise deal with the Council endorsed by Parliament on Tuesday.

Any inventor will be able to apply to the European Patent Organisation (EPO, a non-EU body) for an EU unitary patent valid in all 25 EU member states taking part. Spain and Italy are currently outside the new regime, but could decide to join in at any time.

Patents will be made available in English, French and German. Applications will have to be made in English, German or French. If made in another language, they will have to be accompanied by a translation into one of these three languages.

The Parliament ensured that translation costs would be fully reimbursed for EU-based small and medium-sized enterprises, non-profit organisations, universities and public research organisations. It also ensured that renewal fees, which account for a large share of total costs, would be set at a level that takes account of the special needs of small firms, so that they can fully benefit from lower costs.

The date of application of the two regulations on the creation of unitary patent protection is conditional on the entry into force of the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court.

Thus, for a unitary patent to be issued in early 2014, it would be necessary that, by November 2013, at least 13 Member States (including the three States with the highest number of European patents in force, i.e. France, Germany and the United Kingdom) ratify the draft agreement on the Unified Patent Court. The Agreement between the Member States is expected to be signed in early 2013. This will be the starting point of the ratification process in the Member States.

For further information, please click here and here.

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