WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is seeking stakeholder input on matters relating to international harmonization of substantive patent law. To assist in gathering this information, a public hearing will be held on March 21, 2013, beginning at 8:30 a.m. ET in the USPTO's Madison Auditorium located at 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, Virginia.
In 2011, leaders and representatives from the patent offices of Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Patent Office - known as the Tegernsee Group - launched a dialogue on the international harmonization of substantive patent law. At a meeting convened in October 2012, experts from the Tegernsee Group offices were tasked to collaboratively develop a joint questionnaire to aid in the acquisition and analysis of stakeholder views across jurisdictions on four issues of particular interest to harmonization of substantive patent law: grace period, publication of applications, treatment of conflicting applications, and prior user rights. It is expected that each patent office will separately administer the joint questionnaire to its respective stakeholders. The USPTO questionnaire will be open to anyone interested in participating in the process.
The Federal Register publication - Notice of Public Hearing and Request for Comments on Matters Related to the Harmonization of Substantive Patent Law - can be found at www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/02/01/2013-01966/harmonization-of-substantive-patent-law-request-for-comments-public-hearings.
While it is strongly preferred that interested members of the public use the questionnaire in lieu of submitting written comments, separate written comments may be submitted to the USPTO via electronic mail message to IP.Policy@uspto.gov. All written responses and requests to present oral testimony at the hearing are due by February 28, 2013.
The USPTO plans to make the public roundtable available via Webcast. Webcast information will be available on the USPTO's Internet Web site at www.uspto.gov/ip/global/aia_harmonization.jsp before the public hearing. A transcript of the hearing along with comments from the public will also posted online.
For non-press inquiries, contact Bijou Mgbojikwe, Office of Policy and External Affairs, at 571-272-9300, or at Bijou.Mgbojikwe@uspto.gov.
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