16 November 2012
The heads of the European Patent Office (EPO), the Japan Patent Office (JPO), and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), met in Kyoto, Japan this week for their 30th annual Trilateral Conference, signing a declaration pledging to further develop patent systems around the world through improved work-sharing. The conference was preceded by a symposium marking the anniversary, and a meeting between the offices and industry associations from the three regions.
Reflecting on the achievements of three decades of co-operation, EPO President Benoît Battistelli said: "The massive working effort that we have made together to drive forward world wide common acquisition and exchange of data has been instrumental in building the search and examination systems we have today. We started by scanning published patents from all over Europe, the US and Japan and moved on to capturing and translating abstracts for the First Page database, and now we are exchanging and making searchable citations from all parts of the procedure. And it will continue with the Global Dossier initiatives which we are planning to develop with our users."
"From the early days including the BAckfile CONversion project, or BACON, - a cornerstone for IT efforts in 1988 - to the Patent Prosecution Highway and up to the futuristic Global Dossier concept, the Trilateral Offices have led the way on international patent co-operation and laid the groundwork for work-sharing efforts globally," said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos. "These work-sharing efforts have brought the resources of the world's leading patent authorities to bear on improving the quality of examination processes and reducing the processing time for patent applications."
"These accomplishments have been welcomed not only at the Trilateral Offices but also at other IP offices around the world. All of these lead to improving global patent systems today," said JPO Commissioner Hiroyuki Fukano. "It is our current task to build an appropriate framework in which applicants are able to be granted patents smoothly in every corner of the world. In order to achieve building truly global patent systems in a global era, we would like to take the lead in developing such systems."
Recent achievements of the Trilateral Cooperation include: