IP5 seeks more global patent harmonisation

Members of the IP5 — the forum of the five largest intellectual property offices in the world — said they committed themselves to “effective work-sharing and harmonisation of patent practices and procedures to further improve the patent landscape for users worldwide.”

The IP5 comprises the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the European Patent Office (EPO), the Japan Patent Office (JPO), the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), and the State Intellectual Property Office of China.

The IP5 accounts for more than 80% of patent applications worldwide and about 95% of all Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) work.

At their annual meeting hosted by the EPO in Malta, the members marked 10 years of co-operation to “strengthen work-sharing, patent examination efficiency and quality, and the stability of patent rights for innovators around the world.”

The IP5 was established in 2007 in response to the increasing globalisation of the patent process marked by growing numbers of patent applications and companies filing their patents with multiple offices.

IP5 said that co-operation has delivered products and services that support businesses which have a global market orientation.

Among those services is the Global Dossier, a public service that enables users to monitor via a single online source on how a family of patent applications is progressing at the IP5 offices, as well as the IP5 Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) which allows the offices to share work and speed up patent processing.

“With a view to deepen their co-operation, the IP5 Heads of Office agreed to focus their endeavours on: (1) pursuing efforts towards patent harmonisation on practices and procedures within the IP5, (2) optimising quality management, (3) maximising the work-sharing potential within the IP5, and (4) improving patent information services,” said the IP5 in a statement.