Patent Worksharing

Mutual exploitation of search results will offer the USPTO an opportunity to rely on work performed by another Intellectual Property Office to the maximum extent practicable so as to reduce duplication of efforts and to decrease workload. Worksharing efforts also include engaging with other national patent offices to perform work on behalf of the USPTO so that efforts can be focused on reducing patent pendency.

Worksharing is part of an overall strategic program to promote global patent protection. Bilateral or multilateral activities are conducted in parallel with other initiatives such as substantive patent law harmonization and Patent Cooperation Treaty reform discussions within the World Intellectual Property Organization.

For more information, please refer to the following websites:


Worksharing Programs and Proposals

The USPTO has undertaken several worksharing programs in order to reduce the duplication of efforts and to decrease workload. For more information on the various worksharing initiatives see the USPTO Worksharing Programs and Proposals Chart.

Accelerated Examination Programs

The USPTO has also undertaken domestic examination acceleration programs. For more information on these programs see the Accelerated Examination PTO webpage.

Roundtable on Worksharing

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) held a public roundtable to discuss work sharing for patent applications on Wednesday, November 18, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at its campus in Alexandria, Va. The meeting was held to evaluate the patent community's and the public's views on current work sharing efforts, as well as suggestions for future work-sharing opportunities.

"International filings have increased dramatically in recent years," noted Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos. "To address this challenge, we must make work sharing programs work, and I am committed to expanding them to prevent the USPTO from doubling up on the efforts of our overseas partner offices."

Inventors and companies are increasingly seeking intellectual property protection for their inventions domestically and in multiple international markets. Because of the fractured nature of the global patent system, applicants must file different applications for their inventions in each country in which they wish patent protection leading to multiple searches and examinations. This redundancy not only creates inefficiencies and additional costs for applicants, but also results in the patent offices around the world duplicating a substantial amount of work. The USPTO and foreign patent offices now face a growing backlog of pending applications, and applicants must wait longer times for an application to be examined. Through work sharing, an office eliminates the redundancy by utilizing the work already done by another office thereby expediting the patent examination process.

The relevant documents are available through the links below as well as the videotape of the roundtable.

Preliminary Assessment of Comments in Response to the Roundtable on Worksharing for Patent Applications and the Request for Written Comments

On November 18, 2009, the USPTO held a Roundtable on Worksharing to discuss and create a coordinated strategy that reflects the concerns and needs of our stakeholders. The following summary discusses the various opinions offered with respect to each topic identified.