Bilateral co-operation with non-member states

Delegates at the EPO building (JPG)

Our bilateral co-operation activities with non-member states focus on long-term strategic partnerships designed to make the global patent system more efficient and better suited to user needs.

The activities are aimed at improving the quality and legal certainty of granted rights and ensuring that time and cost factors are kept within reasonable limits. They include:

Providing easier access to prior art 

Making it easier for patent examiners and the public to access the prior art in patent and non-patent literature databases, as well as traditional knowledge databases. One notable feature is the development with Google of the Patent Translate automatic translation tool accessible via Espacenet and the European Publication Server.

Improving utilisation schemes 

Developing and sharing tools, procedures and standards for improving qualitative utilisation schemes, including search and classification resources as well as examiner training and the exchange of best practice between offices.

Validating European patents 

Encouraging European and non-European countries that are not member states of the European Patent Organisation to allow international applicants to validate the effects of their European patent applications and patents on their national territory as national rights.

Known as "validation on request", this system, once introduced, will reduce national office examination workload by up to 90% and allow the offices to focus on developing their examination capacity for national filings. At the same time, the examination of second filings by EPO examiners will help protect the national economies concerned against rogue patenting.

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