USPTO Leads Effort to Improve International Patent Process and Promote U.S. Global Commerce

Agency Hosts International Patent Experts to Streamline Patent Cooperation Treaty Practices
Press Release

Brigid Quinn

The Department of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will host a weeklong meeting of high-level patent officials from nine nations and two international patent organizations to review and approve a new blueprint for enhancing the quality of searches and examination for patent applications filed under the provisions of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). The meetings will run from May 5-9, 2003 at USPTO's offices in Arlington, Va.

The PCT is a 25 year-old international pact that facilitates filing a patent application in its 120 member nations. The international application may be used to enter the national application process in any of the designated PCT countries. PCT search and examination reports help patent filers determine if an application meets basic patent criteria, such as novelty, before they commit to the high cost of translating and filing an application in one or more PCT countries. Led by USPTO executives, a team of experts from PCT-member nations has been working to simplify and streamline PCT processing and to revise and update international search and examination guidelines under the treaty.

"A quality-driven, efficient, and cost-effective PCT process is extremely important to American economic prosperity," notes James E. Rogan, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property. "The vast majority of American businesses who apply for U.S. patents also seek to protect their technology abroad. The PCT process helps to promote U.S. commerce globally, fueling our economy and creating jobs for Americans."

In addition to the U.S., patent officials from the following nations and international organizations are expected to participate: Austria; Australia; Canada; Japan; Korea; Russia; Spain; Sweden; European Patent Office; and World Intellectual Property Organization.

Last year, 114,000 international patent applications were filed using the PCT process.

# # #