Efforts continue toward substantive patent law harmonization; Significant achievements in IP office cooperation are celebrated

Osha Liang managing partner, Jonathan Osha, participated as a member of AIPLA’s Harmonization Task Force in a series of recent meetings relating to international harmonization of patent law, developments in inter-Office cooperation, and improvements to the overall user experience.  On May 29 and May 30, the Industry Trilateral group, including representatives from AIPLA, IPO, Business Europe, and JIPA, met in Valletta, Malta.  Issues discussed included harmonization initiatives relating to grace period, prior user rights, and conflicting applications.

The Industry Trilateral meeting was followed the next day by a meeting of the IP5 Heads of Office and IP5 Industry, attended by senior officials of the USPTO, EPO, KIPO, JPO, and SIPO as well as representatives of AIPLA, IPO, Business Europe, JIPA, KINPA and PPAC.   While looking forward to future initiatives, this meeting was also a celebration of 10 years of cooperation among the five IP offices and five years of cooperation with IP5 Industry.  Significant achievements of these cooperative efforts were recognized, including the global dossier, PCT advancement, the patent prosecution highway, the common application format, the patent harmonization expert panel, quality management initiatives, the common citation document, and first filing prioritization.  A complete report of this meeting is available at the “fiveIPoffices.org” website here.

The Industry Trilateral group met again on June 19 in Munich to further its work on the harmonization agenda.  The following day, the Industry Trilateral participated in a symposium hosted by the EPO entitled, “Cornerstones for harmonization: a B+ Sub-Group / Industry Symposium”, to discuss and obtain feedback from Offices and stakeholders on the current status of harmonization progress.  The Group B+ was established to examine and promote initiatives relating to substantive patent law harmonization and is chaired by Ms. Patricia Kelly, Director General of IP Australia.  The B+ Sub-Group, established in 2014, focuses on the issues of non-prejudicial disclosures / grace period, publication of applications, conflicting application, prior user rights, and prior art.  Members of the Sub-Group include representatives from Canada, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Japan, South Korea, Spain, the UK, the USA, and the EPO.  Additional information on the Group B+ is available here.  The useful feedback obtained during the symposium will be used to refine the current proposals for further consideration this Fall.

Pictures from the events: