Group B+

Group B+

The Group B+ was established to promote and facilitate progress on key issues under consideration at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and in particular to move forward on substantive patent law harmonisation.


It is chaired by Mr Pascal Faure, Director-General of the French Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle, (INPI), and its members are:

  • all members of WIPO's Group B,
  • EU member states,
  • the European Commission,
  • EPOrg member states,
  • the EPO,
  • South Korea.

WIPO and Singapore attend the meetings as observers.

The Group B+ usually holds its in person annual plenary session on the fringes of the WIPO General Assemblies in Geneva.


In 2014, a B+ Sub-Group was set up to assist the Chair, now consisting of representatives from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, the UK, the USA and the EPO.

The Sub-Group has focused on a package of outstanding issues, namely:

  • non-prejudicial disclosures/grace period,
  • publication of applications,
  • conflicting applications,
  • prior user rights and
  • prior art.

While views differ as to the elements that constitute best practice, substantial progress has been made on the definition of various principles and objectives governing the issues under consideration.

User and stakeholder involvement

The group attaches great importance to transparency and will continue to engage with national and regional stakeholders and representatives from the user community.

Documents published by the Group B+

A selection of documents published by the Group B+ is provided below.


Group B+ Plenary 2023 Statement 

Group B+ Plenary 2023 Summary of Discussions 


Group B+ Plenary 2022 Statement 

Group B+ Plenary 2022 Summary of Discussions 


Group B+ Special Plenary Statement 

Group B+ Plenary 2021 Statement 

Industry Trilateral Elements Paper of September 2021 


Group B+ Plenary 2020 Statement 


Group B+ Plenary 2019 Statement


[In 2018, there was no Group B+ plenary meeting.]  


Group B+ Plenary 2017 Statement 

Group B+ Plenary 2017 Summary of discussions 


Group B+ Plenary 2016 Statement 

Group B+ Plenary 2016 Meeting Note 


Group B+ Plenary 2015 Statement 

Group B+ Plenary 2015 Meeting report 

Questionnaire regarding cross-border aspects of client/ patent attorney privilege (CAP) 


Terms of reference 

Group B+ Plenary 2014 Statement 

Group B+ Plenary 2014 Meeting report 

Documents published by the B+ Sub-Group


B+ Sub-Group meeting July 2020 agreed statement 


B+ Sub-Group meeting October 2019 agreed statement 


B+ Sub-Group meeting September 2018 agreed statement 


B+ Sub-Group meeting June 2017 agreed statement

B+ Response Document to the IT3 “Elements Paper” 

B+ Sub-group October 2017 Outcomes 


B+ Sub-Group meeting May 2016 agreed statement 

B+ Workstream on Conflicting Applications: Report 

B+ Workstream on Conflicting Applications: Study on Usage of Secret Prior Art in Patentability Determinations 

B+ Workstream on Implementation Options: Report 

B+ Workstream on Non-Prejudicial Disclosures / Grace Period: Report 

B+ Workstream on Prior User Rights: Report 

B+ Workstream on Prior User Rights: Further Work on the Scope of Prior User Rights 


B+ Sub-Group meeting April 2015 agreed statement 

Objectives and principles, with commentary on potential outcomes (May 2015) 

Note by the Chair: Patent harmonisation – objectives and principles paper (June 2015)

Promoting Transparent Use of the Grace Period (EPO-JPO-USPTO, September 2015) 

Treatment of Conflicting Applications (EPO-JPO-USPTO, September 2015) 


B+ Sub-Group meeting November 2014 summary

Documents published by the Group B+ Working Group on SPLH

Report on the Comparative Analysis of the Results of the National Consultations on Users Proposals on Substantive Patent Law Harmonisation (2023) 

Consultation on Substantive Patent Law Harmonisation 2022

Consultation on SPLH 2022 – Report of Australia 

Consultation on SPLH 2022 – Report of Canada 

European Common Consultation on SPLH 2022 – Common Consultation Document 

European Common Consultation on SPLH 2022 – Part I: Consolidated Report 

European Common Consultation on SPLH 2022 – Part II: National Reports 

Consultation on SPLH 2022 – Report of Japan 

Cornerstones for Harmonisation:
a B+ Sub-Group / Industry Symposium Munich, 20 June 2017

Preparatory documents:

B+ Background Document 

Policy and Elements for a Possible Substantive Patent Harmonization Package (IT3) (PDF, 250 KB)

Exhibit 1 – Grace period (IT3) 

Exhibit 2 – Conflicting applications (IT3) 

Exhibit 3 – Prior users rights (IT3) 

Symposium Presentations:

Grace period (IT3)

Conflicting applications (IT3) 

Prior user rights (IT3) 

Proposed Defence for Intervening Users (“DIU”) (IT3) 

Summary of Position of Australian / New Zealand Users 

Canadian Industry Reaction to Industry Trilateral Positions 

Reactions from KINPA 

Symposium Proceedings:

Cornerstones for Harmonisation – A B+ Sub-Group / Industry Symposium – Record of the Proceedings