INFORMATION FROM THE EPO
Notice from the European Patent Office dated 16 January 2007 regarding the Utilisation Pilot Project
I. Utilisation Pilot Project
One of the outcomes of the recent strategy debate held in the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation was a proposal to utilise work done by the national patent offices of the EPC contracting states (the "NPOs") for subsequent filings with the European Patent Office. This utilisation concept is intended to increase the efficiency of the patent granting process by avoiding duplication of work.
It was agreed by the Administrative Council in its meeting in March 2006 that the concept should be fully tested. It is now being tested by means of a pilot project, the Utilisation Pilot Project or UPP.
The UPP is intended to test the process by which work carried out during the priority year on a first filing with an NPO can be further utilised by the EPO and applicants during the patent granting procedure of a subsequent filing claiming the priority of the said application. The major goal of the UPP is to find out whether the overall efficiency of the European patent granting procedure will be improved by utilising NPO work.
3. Participating offices
The UPP will be operated by the EPO together with four pilot offices: the Austrian Patent Office, the Danish Patent and Trademark Office, the German Patent and Trademark Office and the UK Patent Office.
Selected applicants will be identified and invited to participate by the national office concerned. Participation is optional. The EPO would appreciate it if selected applicants would accept the invitation in order to gain sufficient data for the assessment of the UPP.
4. Participating applicants
The project is open to applicants who, having filed a national application with one of the pilot offices, intend to file a subsequent European patent application claiming said priority. It is not available for applicants filing simultaneously with a participating NPO and the EPO. PCT applications will not be included in the UPP.
Applicants participating in the UPP (Form 1007)1 will receive priority treatment from the EPO if the second filing meets all requirements when filing a European patent application. The Extended European Search Report (EESR) will be issued within three to six months of this filing.
5. Pilot period
European patent applications filed between 1 April 2007 and 31 December 2007 and claiming priority of an application filed with one of the NPOs participating in the UPP will be treated under the UPP.
Thereafter the findings will be assessed and a decision will be taken if and how to continue to a full-scale implementation.
6. Further information
Further information on the UPP (including Form 1007) is available from the EPO web site, www.epo.org
II. Form 1007
The embedded forms within this article are for technical reasons only available in the PDF version of this article.
III. Notes on EPO Form 1007, Participation in the Utilisation Pilot Project (UPP)
Applicants participating in the UPP will have to file together with the European patent application the following additional documents:
- The completed UPP application form (Form 1007);
- The search report issued by the national office;
- Where applicable, the examination report or written opinion issued by the national office;
- A copy of the original claims showing the changes that have been made in response to the national office search report, where applicable.
1 See p. 98 in this issue.