EPO and Chinese IP office enhance their comprehensive strategic partnership

Suzhou/Munich,
12 November 2019 –
At their
annual meeting in Suzhou today, the President of the European Patent Office
(EPO), António Campinos, and the Commissioner of the China National
Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA), Shen Changyu, agreed to enhance their
bilateral co-operation in the framework of the Patent Cooperation Treaty
(PCT).The aim is to give patent applicants filing an international patent
application in English at the CNIPA as Receiving Office the choice to opt for
the EPO as their International Searching Authority (ISA).

It is expected that this new option will be
offered in the course of next year, and be implemented as a two-year pilot.

CNIPA Commissioner Dr Shen Changyu said: “The EPO and CNIPA are comprehensive
strategic partners. For more than 30 years, the two offices have maintained a
long-term close co-operative relationship. The fruitful cooperation results
greatly benefited users and the public both in Europe and China. The two
offices reached consensus on the designation of EPO as an ISA of the PCT
international patent application in English filed at the CNIPA as Receiving
Office. It will further benefit PCT applicants in China and even around the
world. It is also a solid step for China to further enhance its international
co-operation on IP protection”.

“This
is a significant step forward in our strategic co-operation with China in the
area of patents,”
said EPO
President Campinos. “The EPO is truly
honoured by this sign of trust put in its PCT products, and we are committed to
delivering the best possible services to patent applicants from China and
around the world. This development reflects the longstanding and close
bilateral relations with CNIPA, a co-operation which benefits not only our offices,
but also companies and inventors seeking to protect their inventions in
international markets.”

For Chinese applicants, this step will offer
an additional option to optimise their international patent strategy,
especially when considering protection in Europe. As a result, Chinese users
interested in accelerating the prosecution of their applications will, by
selecting the EPO as their ISA, gain up to one year by entering into the
European phase earlier and getting direct examination of their files, without
the need for a European supplementary search.

EPO-CNIPA
co-operation, comparative study on computer-implemented inventions

Bilateral co-operation between the EPO and
CNIPA dates back more than 30 years to the signing of a first memorandum of understanding
between the two patent offices in 1985. In 2017 the EPO and Chinese office
elevated their co-operation to a comprehensive strategic partnership, the
first such agreement between two major patent offices.

In recent years, technology related to
computer-Implemented inventions (CII) has evolved rapidly, and CII-related
patent applications have increased significantly. National IP offices and
patent applicants around the world face new challenges as these technologies
play a larger role in other areas of innovation. In response to these
challenges, CNIPA and the EPO worked together to produce a joint study outlining the
similarities and differences of examination practices specific to
software-related inventions. The heads of the EPO and CNIPA launched this joint
report at a public IP event in Nanjing on Monday. The findings are expected to
provide practical guidance to applicants about what to expect when filing CII
applications at the two offices.

CNIPA received more than 1.5 million
applications for invention patents in 2018. China is now the fifth most active
country of origin for European patent applications, with strong growth from
Chinese applicants at the EPO in recent years (+8.8% in 2018). 

Media contacts European Patent Office

Jana Mittermaier
Director External Communication

Rainer Osterwalder
Press Spokesperson

EPO press desk
Tel: +49 (0)89 2399 1820
Mobile: +49 163 8399527
press@epo.org

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