The areas for co-operation are wide-ranging and include reciprocal access to patent information and the establishment of a Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot programme between the two offices. These activities are aimed at improving the global IP system to support applicants and encourage innovation.
This arrangement was signed on Wednesday 7 October 2015 by Patricia Kelly, Director General of IP Australia and Benoît Battistelli, President of EPO at the side lines of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) General Assembly in Geneva.
'I am very pleased to conclude this agreement with IP Australia,' said EPO President Benoît Battistelli. 'Australia is an important market for European companies and a growing source of applications at the EPO. This agreement will help innovators in both regions by simplifying and accelerating access to patent protection.'
Under the PPH, applicants whose claims have been examined by IP Australia or the EPO may ask for accelerated processing of their corresponding application at the other office, while the Offices will share existing work results, speeding up the process and reducing costs for applicants.
The MoU also encompasses a pilot project for IP Australia to gain experience in the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC). This could pave the way for future cooperation in the technical harmonisation endeavour the CPC represents, which already has 19 participating patent offices around the world.
IP Australia and the EPO will also cooperate to ensure the interconnectivity of Global Dossier and WIPO CASE to allow reciprocal access to patent related dossier information.
'This is an important milestone in the relationship between IP Australia and the European Patent Office. It will lend momentum to our shared goal of more effective intellectual property protection to support innovation globally,' Ms Kelly said.
'We are pleased to be partnering on initiatives that maximise work sharing and reduce administrative burden on applicants. Our joint efforts will benefit Australian and European businesses seeking simplified access to high-quality patent protection,' she added.