Washington - Heads of the U.S. Department of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the European Patent Office (EPO), and the Japan Patent Office (JPO) - collectively known as the Trilateral Offices - met in Kyoto, Japan this week to hold their annual Trilateral Conference, which marks their 30th anniversary this year. The Offices confirmed their commitment to eliminating unnecessary duplication of work, enhancing patent examination efficiency and quality, and working to ensure that stable patent rights can be granted smoothly and easily worldwide.
"These worksharing efforts have brought the resources of the world's leading patent authorities to bear on improving the quality of examination processes and reducing the processing time for patent applications," said the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos.
The Trilateral Offices process the greater part of all patent applications filed worldwide, including Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications. Since 1983, the Trilateral Offices have worked together to produce new databases and IT systems, evolving their cooperation by conducting various projects designed to solve common challenges.
From the early days including the BAckfile CONversion project, or BACON - a cornerstone for IT efforts - to the highly efficient Patent Prosecution Highway, and the futuristic Global Dossier concept capable of giving all stakeholders secure, one-stop access and management to applications, the Trilateral Offices have led the way on international patent cooperation and laid the groundwork for work sharing efforts globally.
The Trilateral Cooperation saw many advances in 2012, including:
* Improvement of the Common Citation Document (CCD) web application reflecting feed-back from the Trilateral industry;
* Agreement to initiate and promote the Global Dossier Initiative under the IP5 framework, and;
* Revitalization of the discussion on improving the Patent Cooperation Treaty with concrete proposals, agreeing to continue
to elaborate them.
In commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Cooperation, the Heads of the respective Trilateral Offices reflected on the achievements of its long history.
"We have sought to facilitate worksharing by streamlining our patent procedures and harmonising our administrative practice. Latterly, our cooperation on technical matters has been extended to include industry," said the EPO President Benoît Battistelli. "The Trilateral has always been about people as well as projects. It has created a space for easy, informal communication, leading to a deeper form of mutual understanding and trust whose value is immeasurable."
"These accomplishments have been welcomed not only at the Trilateral Offices but also at other IP offices in the world. All of these lead to improving global patent systems today," said the commissioner of JPO, Hiroyuki Fukano. "It is our current task to build an appropriate framework in which applicants are able to be granted patents smoothly in every corner of the world. In order to achieve building truly global patent systems in a global era, we would like to take the lead in developing such global patent systems."
The 31st Annual Trilateral Conference will be hosted in the United States by the USPTO in the fall of 2013.
Further details can be found at www.trilateral.net and on the websites of the USPTO (www.uspto.gov), the EPO (www.epo.org) and the JPO (www.jpo.go.jp).
Stay current with the USPTO by subscribing to receive e-mail updates. Visit our Subscription Center at www.uspto.gov/subscribe.
# # #