The United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) has recently established an Office of International Patent Cooperation (OIPC), which, it claims:
"reflects the USPTO's strong commitment to work with global stakeholders and intellectual property (IP) offices to develop means to increase quality and create new efficiencies within the complex processes of international patent rights acquisition, and its commitment toward global patent harmonization, which both protects America's ideas and makes it easier to do business abroad."
The OIPC is designed to work in concert with the Office of Policy and International Affairs (OPIA) and the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), to provide business process solutions relevant to the international patent examination system for examiners and external stakeholders. It is hoped that this will increase the value of intellectual property rights by reducing ambiguities that decrease the value of such rights while simultaneously reducing costs for government agencies and applicants.
The formation of the OIPC comes soon after implementation of the final provisions of the America Invents Act, in March of 2013. One of the many goals of the America Invents Act was to achieve greater harmonization of the major international intellectual property regimes for the benefit of these organizations as well as the innovators that they serve. The formation of this new office demonstrates the USPTO's continued commitment to that goal.
Although significant, the OIPC is only the most recent of many offices and programs at the USPTO designed to decrease its backlog of applications and increase harmonization of the major international patent systems. Some examples of previous programs with similar goals include the Patent Prosecution Highway, the Global Patent Search Network, the Cooperative Patent Classification System, and the Global Dossier Initiative.
And as always please SPREAD THE WORD!
This is one small example of how, here at MCR, we try to keep the community informed of the changing legal landscape. Please contact me or anyone here for more information and pass this along to anyone you know who may be interested, or in need of intellectual property legal services.
Matthew J. Curran
Registered Patent Attorney