Geneva Regional Update - Group B+ Plenary Meeting Remarks

Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for IP and USPTO Deputy Director Michelle K. Lee

World Intellectual Property Organization

Plenary Meeting with Heads of Group B+ Offices

Hotel President Wilson

Geneva, Switzerland

September 23, 2014

Remarks as Delivered

Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for asking me to provide a summary of our progress of the IP5 this past year. 2014 marks the seventh year of collaboration and cooperation among the IP5 offices. Over the course of those seven years, our offices have remained committed to increasing the efficiency and quality of the patent granting process and enhancing work-sharing among the five offices.

The main focus of the IP5 at this time is development of the "Global Dossier." The Global Dossier was proposed as a way to more effectively tie together several of the so-called "foundation projects" into a single, work sharing focused, IT-based group of services that will benefit applicants and offices. The Global Dossier concept envisions that applicants will be able to file and manage a portfolio of applications through a single, "one-stop-shop" portal. This will simplify management of global patent portfolios and at lower cost.

At the same time, the Global Dossier will enable robust work sharing among examiners in different offices through simpler and enhanced access to search and examination results. This will help to improve examination quality and efficiency.

At the IP5 Heads of Offices meeting in Busan, Korea in June 2014, the Heads of Offices endorsed a plan for rolling out delivery of the Global Dossier in phases. The first phase focuses on providing each office's users with a single point of access to the file wrapper information of the IP5 Offices. While the Global Dossier will set the stage technologically for increased work-sharing and efficiency, differences in practices and procedures at the five offices, and for that matter, around the world, limit our ability to achieve maximum gains from our work-sharing programs.

To explore ways to reduce this barrier to more optimal work sharing, the IP5 Offices formed a Patent Harmonization Experts Panel, or "P-HEP." Working with the IP5 Industry Group, the PHEP identified three areas for potential procedural harmonization - Unity of Invention, Citation of Prior Art, and Written Description/Sufficiency of Disclosure. Although these procedural harmonization discussions are at a very early stage, the IP5 is hopeful that it will be able to make progress in aligning some of the practices related to these key issues.

The IP5 is also focused on further development of the PCT system and in particular, promoting utilization of the PCT by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and individual users. We are also considering potential work-plans directed to work sharing between international authorities and national offices and collaboration to enhance the quality of PCT international searches and preliminary examinations. Through forward-looking projects such as the Global Dossier, further studies procedural harmonization issues, and collaboration with the IP5 Industry Group and the World Intellectual Property Organization, the IP5 will continue its leadership in improving the effectiveness of the global patent system.

Thank you for your attention this afternoon, and I am happy to answer any questions you may have.