In through the outfield blog

29 January 2013

Consultation on patent law harmonisation

The UK IPO is inviting interested parties to complete a detailed questionnaire (36 pages including notes) as part of a consultation on patent law harmonization.

It is called the Tegernsee Experts Group – Informal Consultation on International Patent Law Harmonisation and replies are requested by the 1 March 2013.

It is part of an international effort to sort out and harmonise four aspects of patent law and procedure. These are

 Grace periods. Should it be permitted to have a “grace period” during which disclosure of an invention is allowed before filing a patent, which establishes the novelty “priority” filing. The USA for one allows domestic applicants to use the grace period.

 Publication at 18 months. At present most countries publish patent applications 18 months after the same priority date. Applicants have the right to file for foreign rights within 12 months of the priority date. Is this timing correct or should the timescale be altered.

 Treatment of conflicting applications. Because publication occurs 18 months after the priority filing, sometimes an application is anticipated by another application made months before, that neither the patent office nor the later applicant knew about. What should be allowed.

 Prior user rights. This is about the right to continue to use an invention if that was being done before someone else filed a patent for the invention. Has there been actual use or only preparations for use.

This looks like a very interesting amd important consultation and I would encourage interested parties to reply.

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