WIPO, EPO Sign Patent Cooperation Agreement

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By Matthew Gibson for Intellectual Property Watch

The heads of the World Intellectual Property Organization and the European Patent Office today signed a three-year agreement to mutually improve the procedural framework of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

The agreement calls for annual work plans of cooperation on “areas of mutual interest surrounding the PCT,” according to a joint press release. These work plans include “fully electronic exchanges of PCT documents and an enhanced digital exchange of patent information products.” The agreement text was not available at press time.

Although the two organisations had worked together previously, this agreement marks the first of its kind relating to the PCT, they said. The agreement aims to increase the use of the PCT framework among patent applicants, and targets efficiency and patent quality.

“This agreement ushers in a new epoch in the already long-standing relationship between the EPO and WIPO,” EPO President Benoît Battistelli said after their meeting in Munich.

WIPO General Director Francis Gurry noted that the cooperation “reflects a shared vision of the PCT as the core work-sharing platform of the international patent system.”

The EPO conducts some 70,000 patent searches related to patent applications filed under the PCT, they said. This amounts to about 40 percent of the total, originating both from Europe and elsewhere. The PCT, administered by WIPO, allows the filing of a patent application in some 140 countries simultaneously.

Matthew Gibson is an intern with Intellectual Property Watch.

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