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Washington - In October 2011, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) began to electronically deliver search results for all publicly available U.S. patent applications to the European Patent Office (EPO). This electronic delivery of search results was implemented to assist U.S. applicants who later file in the EPO to comply with an amendment to Rule 141(1) (Information on Prior Art) of the EPO's implementing regulations to the European Patent Convention (EPC).
"This delivery of search results is consistent with the USPTO's strategic goal to increase international cooperation and work sharing," said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos.
Amended Rule 141(1) EPC, which went into effect on January 1, 2011, applies to all European patent applications filed on or after January 1, 2011. Amended Rule 141(1) EPC requires applicants to file a copy of the search results from a previous patent application to which the European patent application claims priority. USPTO's electronic delivery of prior art citation data from Form PTO-892 (Notice of References Cited) to the EPO relieves applicants of the effort and expense of filing a copy of the search results from a U.S. priority patent application with the EPO.
USPTO will also electronically deliver the search results for an unpublished U.S. patent application where there is consent from an authorized party filed with the USPTO and the U.S. patent application has cleared national security review. The Form PTO/SB/69 entitled "Certification and Authorization to Permit Access to Search Results by the European Patent Office (EPO)" will be available on the USPTO Web site at http://www.uspto.gov/forms/index.jsp.
There is no fee for the electronic delivery of these search results to the EPO.
For more information, please contact Susy Tsang-Foster in the Office of Patent Legal Administration at (571) 272-7711.
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