27 April 2017
The EPO and the Eurasian Patent Office (EAPO) have agreed to launch a joint Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot programme to enable work-sharing and accelerated treatment of patent applications at both offices.
The agreement was signed today in Munich by EPO President Benoît Battistelli and EAPO President Saule Tlevlessova.
"We are pleased to be able to extend co-operation with our partners in the Eurasian region," said EPO President Benoît Battistelli. "The fast-track programme will enable companies and inventors from both our regions to obtain patents more quickly and efficiently, boosting business and innovation."
"The signing of this bilateral PPH agreement opens a new page in the history of EAPO-EPO co-operation, and will serve to benefit applicants and our offices," said EAPO President Saule Tlevlessova. "This memorandum will bring two large regional systems, the European and the Eurasian ones, closer together to create a better environment for the IP community."
Under the PPH pilot, which is expected to be launched in the second half of 2017, applicants whose claims have been found to be patentable by the EPO or the EAPO may ask for accelerated processing of their corresponding application at the other office, while the offices will share existing work results, speeding up the granting process and reducing costs for users.
The EPO and the EAPO have a long and established history of co-operation going back to1995. Joint projects aim to support innovation in both regions by strengthening the patent system, and cover training, technical harmonisation, sharing technical tools and exchanging patent data. The EAPO's complete collection of patent documents will soon be incorporated into the EPO's free worldwide patent database Espacenet. Co-operation between the two offices also contributed to the addition of the Russian-English component of Patent Translate, the EPO's free machine translation service for patents. With the help of this tool, on the fly-translation of patent documents has been available from and into Russian since 2013, improving access to information for both patent offices and users of the patent system.
In October 2016, the EPO and EAPO also signed an agreement on classification, under which the EAPO will move towards adopting the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC), an internationally-compatible classification system for patent documents launched by the EPO and US Patent and Trademark Office in 2013, and now used by more than 25 patent offices around the world.
The EPO already has operational PPH pilot programmes with the IP5 offices (a grouping of the world's five largest IP offices, made up of the EPO and the patent offices of China, Japan, Korea, and the US), as well as with the national patent offices of Australia, Canada, Colombia, Israel, Mexico, Russia and Singapore. The EPO has also agreed to implement PPH programmes with the offices of Malaysia and the Philippines.