USPTO and KIPO Sign Memorandum of Cooperation for Collaborative Search Pilot

The USPTO-KIPO Collaborative Search Pilot Program is expected to optimize patent quality and timeliness.
May 21, 2015
Press Release 15-11

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Washington - The U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Korean Intellectual Property Office signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) on May 20, 2015, to begin a bilateral Collaboration Search Pilot (CSP) program. The MOC, signed at a bilateral meeting during the IP5 Heads Meeting in Suzhou, China, allows the two offices to share search information prior to a first office action. 

IP5 is the designation for the group of the five largest intellectual property offices in the world.  In addition to the USPTO and KIPO, members include the European Patent Office (EPO), the Japan Patent Office (JPO), and the State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China (SIPO). 

The CSP is designed to provide patent applicants with the best prior art by combining the search expertise of both the USPTO and KIPO before examination of the patent application begins. This will enhance compact prosecution and improve patent quality. 

“The initiation of this Collaborative Search Pilot Program reflects the strong ties between the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the Korean Intellectual Property Office,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Michelle K. Lee. “Both of our offices are committed to improving the international patent system and this is yet another step in that direction.”

CSP processing in the USPTO will be based upon the Full First Action Interview (FAI) Pilot program (see that separates the initial search from substantive examination. The FAI program is designed to give applicants the examiner’s search results, followed by an optional interview, prior to full examination of the claims. In order to ensure the coordination of the search efforts between the Offices, the application will be accelerated in both offices.

"This memorandum reconfirms and further strengthens our commitment to the growing cooperative relationship between our two offices," said Deputy Under Secretary Of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office Russell Slifer.

The CSP with KIPO will allow for both offices to work in parallel and the USPTO will provide the two work products to the applicant upon receipt of the work from KIPO.  This will provide two independent views on the claims to help the applicant determine the next best steps in the prosecution of their application. 

The two offices will formally implement the CSP on Sept. 1. Further details of the program will be published in upcoming Federal Register notice and on the USPTO website.