United States and Korean Patent Offices Enter Into Agreement on International Search and Examination Services
Part of USPTO effort to reduce backlog of U.S. national patent applications
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) entered into an agreement this week in which KIPO will act as an available international searching and examining authority for international applications filed with the USPTO under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). The agreement will allow applicants additional flexibility to choose a given international authority based on the technology disclosed in the international application, speed of services provided and cost of obtaining searches and examination of international applications. The agreement goes into effect January 1, 2006. Additionally, this action will benefit the ongoing USPTO efforts to bring down the growing backlog of U.S. national patent applications waiting to be examined.
The USPTO receives over 350,000 patent applications per year. If PCT applicants take advantage of the availability of KIPO to perform international searches and examinations, the USPTO can dedicate more resources to reducing the backlog of pending national applications, with the goal of increasing productivity and quality.
Under the terms of the agreement, an applicant designating KIPO as the International Searching Authority (ISA) will pay a search fee of $218 instead of $300 or $1000, as applicable if the USPTO is the ISA. An applicant designating KIPO as the International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) will pay an international examination fee to KIPO equivalent of $218 instead of $600 or $750, as applicable if the USPTO is the IPEA. Applicants filing international applications with the USPTO may, generally, also elect to have them searched and/or examined at the European Patent Office.
The PCT is an international agreement that simplifies the filing of patent applications in its 128 member states. A PCT application may be used as a national application for a patent in any of the designated PCT countries. International applicants request PCT search and examination reports to help them determine if an application meets basic patent criteria before committing to the high cost of translating and filing an application in one or more PCT countries. The USPTO and KIPO are among the national patent offices authorized to conduct PCT searches and examinations.