USPTO Advances Cooperation with Foreign IP Leaders
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in a delegation led by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Michelle K. Lee advanced international harmonization of intellectual property processes in a series of meetings in Geneva, Switzerland.
While attending an annual governance meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organization, Lee signed three separate memorandums of understanding with the European Patent Office, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore, and the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines.
“These three memorandums of understanding mark a significant milestone of achievement in patent cooperation between our offices,” said Lee. “They will promote consistency in practices and spur greater innovation.”
The MoU with the European Patent Office will help advance international adoption of the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) system while improving collaboration between the two patent offices. The MoU will also continue to promote CPC use by other patent offices. CPC currently is used by more than 45 patent offices and more than 25,000 examiners around the world.
The MoU with Singapore will increase international prior art searches under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore will now act as an available International Searching Authority (ISA) and International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) for certain patent applications filed with the USPTO under PCT.
The MoU with the Philippines expands existing collaboration between the two offices and strengthens cooperation by sharing best practices and undertaking joint activities to improve operations and harmonization of patent application processing.
In addition to signing the MoUs Lee and her delegation engaged in high-level discussions with leadership of multiple patent offices on advancing the Global Dossier initiative, a project the USPTO is developing. They also promoted a significant initiative the USPTO is unveiling to assist in managing patent applications in multiple offices.