USPTO Director David Kappos Speaks On Need For IP Cooperation 24/09/2010 by Kaitlin Mara for Intellectual Property Watch 3 Comments Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Patent offices around the world must work together to combat the inefficiencies in patent processing that threaten to stifle innovation and as a result slow needed growth of the global economy, David Kappos, director of the US Patent and Trademark Office said today. “IP matters to the global economy today more than ever,” he told a press briefing at the United Nations in Geneva on 23 September. But having backlogs in processing applications “stifles innovation and delays the creation of new businesses and jobs.” Kappos also spoke in a video interview with Intellectual Property Watch earlier in the day. “The time for advancing IP interests and moving the world’s IP systems, particularly the patent systems toward one another, including norm-setting and technical cooperation is really here,” he said during the interview, praising the work of the World Intellectual Property Organization in providing technical expertise to facilitate cooperation. Kappos speaks to IP Watch on the importance of collaboration. Kappos also spoke briefly on key international issues, such as proposed copyright exceptions to ease access to reading materials for the visually impaired, and on traditional knowledge. WIPO is currently in the middle of its decision-making General Assemblies, running from 20-29 September. Many patent filings around the world represent the same or similar inventions, said USPTO Deputy Director Sharon Barner. Among the worlds so-called “IP5” offices – the patent offices of China, Europe, Japan, Korea, and the United States, which account for about 80 percent of the world’s patent filings – approximately 200,000 applications a year could be used by another office, Barner said. With the IP5, Kappos told Intellectual Property Watch in the interview, several projects are ongoing since last year covering access to search results, classification systems, collaboration between examiners and others “aimed at dramatically improving the patent system for the world.” The IP5 is an important grouping “advancing collaboration, cooperation and dare I even say harmonisation between patent systems of the world,” he added. At the USPTO, there is currently a backlog of over 750,000 applications, though this number is shrinking and is hoped to reach below 700,000 by the end of the year, Kappos said at the press conference. This would represent the first fall in backlog at the USPTO in seven years, but the office would have a ways to go before reaching “optimal inventory” of 50-70,000 applications per examiner, or 325,000 total. At optimal level, patent processing time would be significantly reduced. The UPSTO is working on a series of collaborative efforts with patent offices around the world to avoid duplication. Collaborative projects include the Patent Prosecution Highway, which allows for “fast track” examination of a patent in one office if it is determined to be patentable in another office. The USPTO has PPH agreements with 12 partner offices, Kappos said. The USPTO is also launching a new effort that it hopes will incentivise the creation of technologies that address critical humanitarian needs, such as treatments for neglected diseases, technology to increase crop yields or nutritional value, or for clean water, said a USPTO press release. The idea is that patent applicants looking to have a humanitarian impact with their innovation would be given fast track priority for patent reexamination. The project was circulated last week for comments, Kappos said, and a pilot is intended to be launched in 2011. Kappos also briefly commented on critical international issues in patenting. On the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, he said the new enforcement tool is “important for IP generally” and that the US would “very much like to see ACTA concluded,” though he deferred to the US Trade Representative on providing details. On an ongoing WIPO negotiation over improving access to reading materials for the visually impaired, he said the US was “committed to helping it move forward.” On traditional knowledge negotiations at WIPO, he said it was too early in the process to comment, though the negotiation has been ongoing at WIPO for 12 years. Kappos speaks on copyright exceptions for the print disabled. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Kaitlin Mara may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."USPTO Director David Kappos Speaks On Need For IP Cooperation" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.