China and Europe collaborate on streamlining the patent application processAAA IPRIGHT2
Recently, the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) and the European Patent Office (EPO) have announced that they have finally reached an agreement on the matter of streamlining the patent application process.
Specifically, from July 1, 2021, a copy of the prior application search report made by the CNIPA will not be required anymore when a European patent application or a Patent Cooperation Treaty application claiming priority from an earlier application in China is filed with the EPO enters the European phase.
The relationship between CNIPA and EPO
The basis behind this successful collaboration between the CNIPA and the EPO is their long-term trust and harmonious cooperation for decades. The data exchange between the organizations in recent years is one key step to establish the technical guarantee for the implementation of this policy.
The EPO was one of the first patent offices to establish a partnership with the CNIPA. For 36 years, the two offices have maintained a friendly relationship. In 2017, they have elevated their cooperation to a comprehensive strategic partnership. The two offices are committed to providing better services to IP users and have carried out in-depth cooperation in a broad range of areas.
When this collaboration officially takes effect, it will further simplify the process and improve the efficiency of patent applications in Europe. This collaboration will mark another successful comprehensive strategic cooperation between the organizations in a long history of friendly cooperation, and will undoubtedly, be a strong basis for other cooperation in the future.
Davide Luigi Petraz, a co-managing partner of GLP Intellectual Property Office in Italy stated that: “As from July 1, 2021, following the decision of the EPO’s president António Campinos, all applicants claiming the priority of a first filing made in China will be exempted from filing a copy of the search results under Rule 141(1) European Patent Convention. The Official Journal EPO 2021, A38 states that, with regards to Rules 141(1) and (2) and 70b (1) and (2) of the EPC, the EPO shall include in the file of a European patent application a copy of the search results referred to in Rule 141(1) EPC, thus exempting the applicant from filing said copy, where the priority of a first filing made in China is claimed. This decision will apply to all European patent applications claiming a Chinese priority for which an invitation under Rule 70b(1) EPC has not yet been dispatched.”
Cynthia Tian, a partner at Jadong IP Law Firm in Beijing also shared her opinions: “This initiative improves the efficiency of the applicant’s patent application in Europe – it has further enhanced the enthusiasm and willingness of our clients to apply for European patents. The number of Chinese companies applying for overseas patents has been on an increasing trend. The further collaboration between the CNIPA and the EPO is undoubtedly a shot in the arm for Chinese companies applying for overseas patents, and better strengthens our confidence in IP protection as practitioners. In particular, for processing our clients’ European patent applications, it is of great significance to reduce our workload and improve our efficiency. Ultimately, it ensures that we will provide better service to our clients.”
Daniele Giovanni Petraz, a co-managing partner of GLP Intellectual Property Office also shared her view on the matter: “This new important implementation will further simplify the prosecutions of European patent applications for Chinese applicants, leading also to a reduction of the prosecution costs and hopefully shorter time to grant. Nevertheless, after only one month it is not easy to define the effective impact for European patent owners.”
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