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WASHINGTON — The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Japan Patent Office (JPO) would like to express our most heartfelt sympathies to the victims of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and their families. We sincerely hope that everyone affected recovers soon and that the spread of COVID-19 infection will end as soon as possible.
This unprecedented crisis has had a significant negative impact on the global economy. Amidst this challenging situation, we are once again reminded of the importance of innovations that support our society.
As evidenced by the daily reports around the world, there is no doubt that innovation is a powerful weapon against COVID-19. On countless occasions, humanity has overcome crises throughout history by the development and promotion of innovation.
For example, the fact that working at home through telework and various online services has become more common worldwide, shows that innovations in the field of Information Technology (IT) have become a major foundation of our economy and daily lives. Likewise, medical technologies used to fight the pandemic have been created due to inventions throughout time. This type of development has been made possible by robust intellectual property systems that incentivize and protect innovation.
In this regard, the USPTO and the JPO would like to pay our deep respects to all the inventors around the world who have served as a driving force to overcome crises. Both Offices are committed to supporting inventors by taking all possible measures to ensure that they continue to create.
To achieve this, IP offices around the world, including the USPTO and the JPO, have been taking as many actions as possible, such as flexibilities for affected procedural deadlines, to support inventors and applicants in this situation of global crisis.
In order to support innovation worldwide, the USPTO and the JPO are aware of the importance of promptly establishing stable patent rights.
To achieve these objectives, the USPTO and the JPO have developed a close cooperative relationship over the years. More specifically, in addition to the development of accelerated examination programs, we have worked hand-in-hand in establishing various initiatives to support inventors worldwide. These achievements include: the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) launched in 2006; the U.S.-Japan Collaborative Search Pilot Program; and the Global Dossier Initiative.
Further, the USPTO and the JPO have developed their own databases allowing interested parties to readily access information about patents that are available for licensing. By doing so, the Offices are facilitating the voluntary licensing of patented technologies and the commercialization of inventions effective in combating COVID-19.
The USPTO and the JPO believe we will be able to overcome this crisis by promoting and utilizing innovative technologies. To that end, both Offices are firmly committed to working together to advance initiatives for promoting investment and innovation.