16 September 2019
EPO President António Campinos met with Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Andrei Iancu in Munich on 12 September to discuss recent developments in intellectual property and co-operation between the two offices.
The heads of office spoke about their respective strategic plans and also addressed the rising importance of artificial intelligence, both in the patent granting process and as the subject-matter of patent applications, in addition to developments related to the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court. Their talks also covered ongoing activities in the trilateral co-operation between the EPO, USPTO and Japan Patent Office, as well as the co-operation among the five largest intellectual property offices in the world (IP5). A further topic of discussion was their close co-operation on the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC), which has evolved from a bilateral EPO-USPTO initiative to an international classification standard used by 29 offices worldwide.
"It has been an honour to host Director Iancu here in Munich during his first visit to the EPO," said President Campinos. "Our two offices have a great deal in common and are in agreement on a similar vision for the future. As we also share many of the same users, it is increasingly important that we continue to work together to strengthen the patent system beyond our respective regions."
"I appreciate the hospitality of President Campinos and the EPO team during my first visit to the European Patent Office," said Director Iancu. "Our productive conversations will lead to even more collaboration between our two offices. We value our close friendship with the EPO and look forward to further strengthening our relationship in ways that will benefit our stakeholders in the United States and Europe."
The two heads of office last met in Korea in June 2019. Since then, the EPO's Strategic Plan 2023 has been endorsed and approved by the EPO's member states. Mr Campinos briefed his counterpart on the adjustments the EPO will make to implement the Plan and underlined the potential for further co-operation with the USPTO.
One of several IT projects discussed during Mr Iancu's visit was CPC International, which was launched in August, and aimed at updating the CPC infrastructure and the way CPC data from national offices is stored, displayed and searched. President Campinos expressed his satisfaction with the project and emphasised the role collaboration played in its successful deployment.
This is one of several meetings between the two heads of office: Mr Campinos and Mr Iancu will meet patent professionals and users at a patent showcase event in London this week, hosted by the Director of the UK Intellectual Property Office Tim Moss, followed by the IPO Annual Meeting in Washington later this month where they will participate in a moderated fireside chat.