Joff Wild at IAM Magazine reports that the EPO, JPO, USPTO, SIPO and KIPO have just reached an agreement on a major work-sharing initiative that will reduce duplication and enhance patent examination. Part of the agreement includes the creation of 10 "Foundation Projects". The projects (as described in an EPO press release) that could have the most impact on public users of patent information include:
A) Common documentation database (lead: EPO)
Aim: To bring together a common set of relevant patent and non-patent literature from around the world to assist patent examiners in their prior art searches.
B) Common approach to hybrid classification (lead: EPO)
Aim: To enable joint and efficient updating of patent classification and facilitate the reuse of work among the patent offices.
C) Common Approach to Sharing and Documenting Search Strategies (lead: USPTO)
Aim: To promote reutilization by enabling the patent examiners of each office to understand each other's search strategy
D) Common Search and Examination Support Tools (lead: USPTO)
Aim: To establish a system of common search and examination tools to facilitate work-sharing
E) Common Access to Search and Examination Results (lead: JPO)
Aim: To enable examiners to find one-stop references in the dossier information of other offices, such as search and examination results.
To conduct the priority document exchange (PDX) to reduce the cost of ordering copies of priority documents for applicants and the administrative costs of electronic processing for offices.
F) Common Application Format (lead: JPO)
Aim: To facilitate the filing procedure of each office by using a Common Application Format; and by using electronic or digitized patent application filing (in XML format) and subsequent processing and publication in XML format.