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Reducing Pendency through Worksharing and Acceleration Programs
Blog by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos
Increased globalization has taken its toll on IP Offices throughout the world. We see the phenomenon of increased filings and workload in many countries, including the United States and others, particularly in Europe and Asia. The surge in patent filings has created workload challenges everywhere.
Because of the fragmented nature of the global patent system, applicants must file multiple patent applications in different countries to protect a single invention. This leads to redundancy in search and examination, creating inefficiencies and additional costs for applicants. It also means that IP Offices around the world are duplicating a substantial amount of work.
At the USPTO we have the responsibility to lead in the development of a patent system that reflects the economic needs and interests of the global marketplace. Given the current backlog, delays between filing and examination create significant problems for innovators and investors. Because we all have a shared interest in a patent system that promotes a timely and accurate resolution of rights, it is one of my top priorities to better manage our workload. This issue was the focus of many of the discussions that Deputy Director Barner and I had on the margins of the WIPO General Assemblies Meetings last week in Geneva. You can read the text of a briefing we gave to media in Geneva here.
Our strategy for grappling with the backlog embraces the following worksharing concepts: 1) creating new efficiencies in the global patent system by leveraging the search and examination work products of other IP Offices and 2) providing the global patent community greater flexibility as to when patent applications may be examined and accelerated.
There are numerous worksharing and acceleration programs being hosted and proposed by various IP offices. In order to make it easier for our counterparts in global IP offices and our stakeholders to access information on these various programs and proposals, we have compiled two charts that outline our key worksharing and acceleration initiatives. We hope these charts provide a better understanding of the available and proposed programs. The first chart outlines the major worksharing initiatives at the USPTO and includes some information on programs administered by JPO and EPO. The second chart outlines all of our domestic acceleration programs and proposals and includes information as to when applicants may request expedited examination.
We have shared these charts with the other IP5 Offices (EPO, JPO, KIPO and SIPO). We believe these charts will be useful to the IP5 group as we all assess and evaluate our various programs. Moreover, we think our users will benefit by having access to a complete survey of all the programs available through the IP5 Offices.
I invite your comments and questions on these charts and on our worksharing and acceleration programs generally. I look forward to your feedback.