5 October 2016
On Friday 30 September, President Benoît Battistelli welcomed Commissioner Shen of the State Intellectual Property Office of the People's Republic of China (SIPO) to Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France. The visit was held on the occasion of the annual EPO-SIPO Heads of Offices meeting, this year hosted by the EPO in Europe. The meeting is an annual fixture for the two offices and offered a valuable opportunity to discuss strategic topics of mutual interest and to take stock of the results achieved within the framework of both IP5 and bilateral co-operation.
The President reported on EPO progress in reducing pendency times and underlined the valuable results achieved this year in bilateral cooperation with SIPO. This included rapid adoption of the CPC, with SIPO expanding its CPC classification to all fields of technology in 2016. In addition there have been further joint efforts to improve the scope of data provided by EPO's Global Dossier service.
Following the bilateral meeting, the President and the Commissioner signed an ambitious new Work Plan on bilateral co-operation 2017, covering seven different Projects, including Data Exchange, Classification, Capacity Building and Patent Information.
Speaking at the meeting, President Battistelli said, ‘We are honoured to have hosted Commissioner Shen and the SIPO delegation here in St-Germain-en-Laye. The Strategic Partnership we have developed with SIPO is of great benefit to European innovators and inventors wishing to access the Chinese market. This broad new work plan that we have signed for 2017 will help to ensure that we make further advances in more areas of cooperation and that our bilateral relations continue to grow in strength.'
Co-operation between the EPO and SIPO has also seen major achievements in areas such as staff training and exchanges, the sharing of data, and the development of state-of-the-art automated systems. It has also provided greater access to the rapidly growing amount of Chinese patent data, and has made the Chinese patent system more accessible to European companies and inventors.
The rapid development of the Chinese economy has underlined the strategic importance of EPO-SIPO bilateral cooperation, which started 31 years ago. SIPO received more than 1.1 million patent applications last year and this year it expects to receive approximately 1.3 million. The applications from China to the EPO are also growing rapidly. In 2015, 5721 patent applications to the EPO originated from China and in 2016 a further increase is expected. Despite the increasing applications, patent applications from Europe to SIPO continue to outstrip the number of applications that the EPO receives from China, indicating that Europe is a net exporter of patents and an innovation hub.