EPO and WIPO sign Memorandum of Understanding

11 November 2021

On 8 November, EPO President António Campinos met online with Mr Daren Tang, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The organisations renewed their commitment to further improving the international patent system's support for innovation and signed a new Memorandum of Understanding on bilateral co-operation.

The agreement aims at improving the procedural framework of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) with a view to increasing its attractiveness and efficiency for applicants. Further focus areas for co-operation between the EPO and WIPO include classification, data exchange and the dissemination of patent information.

The organisations emphasised the need to support the innovation ecosystem with regard to sustainable growth, including when it comes to fostering synergies between the EPO's network of patent information centres (PATLIBs) and the WIPO's Technology Innovation Support Centres (TISCs).

Moreover, the EPO and WIPO will join forces on enhancing their respective information technology systems in order to optimise workflows and processes. This includes the digitalisation of all paper-based bilateral PCT dataflows by the end of 2023.

Mr Campinos invited Mr Tang to the IP5 heads of office meeting in 2022 and to the ceremony for the European Inventor Award 2022, where the Young Inventors prize will be awarded for the first time.

EPO as PCT authority

The EPO remains the largest International Searching Authority (ISA) under the PCT scheme, accounting for more than 30% of all PCT work worldwide. In 2020, the EPO performed 83 000 international searches.

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