Patent international cooperation
Establishing strong international patent cooperation reflects the USPTO's commitment to the IP community by improving systems in two basic respects: increasing certainty of IP rights while reducing costs for our stakeholders. Achievements in both areas benefit all economies by fostering increased innovation and subsequent job creation.
The Office of International Patent Cooperation (OIPC) is comprised of six offices: the International Outreach and Administration (IOA), the International Patent Legal Administration (IPLA), the International Worksharing division (IW), the Office of International Patent Business Solutions (IPBS), the Classification Division, and International Patent Quality (IPQ).
International Outreach and Administration (IOA)
The International Outreach and Administration (IOA) division provides extensive business analysis and project management support to all the divisions in OIPC. It is responsible for the administrative functions of OIPC, including financial and budgetary management, project and program management and business support services. IOA interacts with domestic and foreign stakeholders, including expanding and establishing alliances and building coalitions. The IOA division assists senior officials in formulating public and internal positions and key messages related to all international patent cooperation initiatives. The division advises on all OIPC outreach and manages OIPC’s outreach program. IOA participates in the development of recommendations for USPTO strategic direction setting for international cooperation and provides expert advice, senior counsel, and recommendations related to OIPC programs. In addition, the IOA division participates with counterpart IP offices to achieve patent-related cooperative goals of the USPTO, including meeting frameworks and joint outreach programs. The division assists the other OIPC divisions with formulating and developing policy, implementation and negotiation strategies on global IT, worksharing, and other initiatives in direct coordination with senior USPTO leadership, including participating with counterpart IP offices to achieve patent-related cooperative goals of the USPTO, including meeting frameworks and joint outreach programs.
International Patent Legal Administration (IPLA) is responsible for overseeing and administering the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs and other international patent projects or agreements for the USPTO by regularly engaging with intellectual property offices around the world on key matters, resolving legal issues, and guiding policies and procedures for the filing, examination, and processing of applicants related to these international agreements. IPLA is also tasked with addressing legal issues and developing policy related to the USPTO’s participation in the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) and deciding petitions to the Commissioner in international applications filed under the PCT and in U.S. national stage applications submitted under 35 U.S.C. 371. To support users with these efforts, IPLA is highly committed to educating the patent community on the details and procedures of these international agreements as well as providing timely assistance to users who request support.
International Worksharing (IW)
The International Worksharing division is responsible for overseeing and administering the coordination, development, and promotion of worksharing systems and patent practices among the world’s patent offices for the USPTO to improve patent examination efficiency and facilitate cooperation within the global patent system. This includes developing and advocating programs, initiatives and policies that represent the interest of the USPTO and its stakeholders, such as the Patent Prosecution Highway, the Collaborative Search Pilot Program, the PCT Collaborative Search and Examination Pilot, and validation-type agreements.
International Patent Business Solutions (IPBS)
The Office of International Patent Business Solutions in involved in identifying, evaluating, defining, and documenting business processes and information technology (IT) solutions supporting international users of the patent system. This includes managing and assuring routine internal operations are sustained while innovative and relevant solutions towards global patent quality are developed and implemented. IPBS collaborates with internal USPTO partners and external global patent stakeholders. Also, IPBS advises USPTO leadership and provides guidance on technical issues and strategies that most effectively advance the goals of the USPTO.
The Classification Division is responsible supporting and developing Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) policies and practices, along with ensuring proper and timely maintenance of the CPC scheme. The Classification Division consists of three support organizations that support patent classification. First, Classification Standards and Development (CSD) is responsible for administrating the classification standards and development of the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC). Second, Classification Editorial Division (CED) is responsible for publishing revisions to the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) scheme, as well as updating numerous classification-related reference tools and documents accessible from USPTO’s internet and intranet sites. Third, Classification Quality and International Coordination (CQIC) is responsible for ensuring classification training, scheme quality, and international coordination and collaboration on classification-related harmonization efforts.
International Patent Quality
The International Patent Quality Advisor (IPQA) represents the USPTO in international forums on patent examination quality and harmonization of patent quality processes and procedures. The IPQA ensures and enhances quality of OIPC programs, projects, and initiatives through the implementation and management of Quality Managements Systems (QMSs). The IPQA reviews OIPC’s, Patents’ and USPTO’s strategic goals and ensures QMS alignment with such. Additionally, the IPQA assesses and provides recommendations to improve the international patent filing and prosecution systems while working with international stakeholders to identify needs. Lastly, the IPQA serves as the OIPC POC on quality matters with other divisions in Patents and other business units, such as OPIA.