1 December 2011
Meeting in South-West China for their 5th Heads of Office Conference, EPO President Benoît Battistelli, and the Commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office of the People's Republic of China (SIPO), Tian Lipu, engaged in in-depth discussions in how to enhance their co-operation, and signed a work programme.
The 2012 work programme will focus, for example, on the development of an electronic exchange of priority documents between the two offices, which will reduce the administrative burden on the users. Moreover, the EPO will support the SIPO in classifying Chinese documentation in ECLA, the European classification system, and provide training facilities to SIPO patent examiners, especially by virtual means.
SIPO also agreed to prioritise work on first filings in such a way that it will improve the possibility for EPO's examiners to take it into account when they have to analyse a second and subsequent European filing of the same application. In general, the two offices will support each other in raising awareness of the European patent system in China and the Chinese patent system in Europe.
Expressing his satisfaction with the successful outcome of this year's meeting, EPO President Benoît Battistelli said: "Our offices already enjoy a very strong relationship, sharing a large basis of common principles, tools and similar proceedings; the new programme will further strengthen our co-operation. Simplifying procedures, eliminating language barriers and disseminating patent information will greatly benefit the users of the European and Chinese patent systems seeking to protect their inventions in both regions," he added.