Europe and China step up co-operation on patents as EPO-SIPO anniversary approaches

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14 November 2014 

SIPO Commissioner Shen Changyu and EPO President Benoît Battistelli shake hands

The heads of the European Patent Office (EPO) and China's State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) met in Brussels to discuss how to further improve and align their patent systems in order to better support innovation in both regions. 

At the meeting future joint activities were defined, and shared with stakeholders of the patent system at a public information event and press briefing held yesterday in Brussels. 

This comes as the two offices prepare to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their co-operation next year. Co-operation between the EPO and SIPO dates back to 1985 when their first agreement was signed. In 2007 they stepped up collaboration by taking on strategic issues such as the harmonisation of procedures, and development of common tools and services.

"As a result of our close co-operation, the Chinese and European patent systems have much in common today, and our partnership has become a pillar of efforts to harmonise patent systems around the world," said EPO President Benoît Battistelli at the public event.

Investments made by the two offices have had a major impact on users of the patent system, resulting from the long-standing pursuit of simpler and cheaper access to patent documentation, and transparency of patent procedures.

Recent developments include the launch in June of the Global Dossier service providing access to European and Chinese dossier content for a family of patent applications; the addition this year of 1 million Chinese documents to the EPO's free machine-translation tool Patent Translate; and SIPO's decision to adopt the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) as its internal classification scheme, all of which are significantly improving access to the vast and rapidly growing amount of Chinese patent data, and contributing to improving patent quality. 

The public event, where SIPO Commissioner Shen Changyu and EPO President Battistelli presented the outcomes of this strategic co-operation and the latest developments in the Chinese and European patent systems, was attended by representatives of industry, IP attachés from national representations to the EU, academics and journalists. The importance of this relationship was enhanced in view of achieving a balanced global patent system. 

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