Washington – The U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Japan Patent Office (JPO) have implemented an agreement under which JPO will act as an available International Searching Authority (ISA) and International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) for certain international applications filed with the USPTO as the Receiving Office (RO/US), under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). The agreement will take effect on July 1, 2015. The agreement is intended to end on June 30, 2018, but may be continued by mutual written consent.
The addition of JPO as an available ISA/IPEA will allow applicants additional flexibility in choosing an international authority based on the technology disclosed in the international application.
"This latest collaboration between USPTO and JPO exemplifies the cooperative spirit between our Offices and benefits applicants by providing an additional option for examination of their international applications directed to green technology," said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Michelle Lee.
Under the agreement, JPO may act as an ISA and IPEA, provided that: (1) the applications are submitted in the English language; (2) the claims of the application are directed to the field of green technology as defined by certain International Patent Classification classes; (3) the JPO has not received more than 5,000 international applications from the USPTO during the three year period from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2018, and not more than 300 applications per quarter during the first year, and not more than 475 application per quarter during the second and third years; and (4) the JPO is chosen as a competent authority by the applicants of said applications. Further details on the use of JPO as an ISA/IPEA for applications filed in the RO/US, including the International Patent Classification classes which define the field of green technology according to this agreement, will be made available on the USPTO Web site.
The PCT is an international agreement that simplifies the filing of patent applications in its contracting States. A PCT application has the effect of a national application for a patent in any of the designated PCT States. International applicants receive an International Search Report and an International Preliminary Report on Patentability to help them determine if an application meets basic patentability criteria before committing to the high cost of translating and entering the national stage in one or more PCT countries. The USPTO and JPO are two of the intellectual property offices authorized to conduct international searches and international preliminary examinations in the PCT system.
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