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6 May 2011

UK IPO and USPTO in Joint Plan to Reduce Backlog of Patent Applications

UK IPO and USPTO in Joint Plan to Reduce Backlog of Patent Applications

The United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) are currently running a joint action plan aimed at reducing the backlog of patent applications in the two offices. The plan began in March 2010, and progress was reported on 5 April 2011 by David Kappos, US Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO, and Baroness Wilcox, UK Parliamentary Under Secretary for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The action plan allows a patent examiner in one office to make maximum use of work already done by an examiner in the other office on a corresponding application. This reduces duplication of work, with the aims of speeding up prosecution of applications and increasing quality. The action plan follows-up on a study commissioned by the UKIPO into the economic impact of delays in the processing of the patent applications, which identified several important problems caused by such delays.

Highlights of the progress made in the action plan during the first year are reported to include:

  • IT improvements in the two offices to enable examiners to better access each other’s search and examination reports.
  • Improvements in the procedures of the offices to facilitate reuse of search and examination reports and enhance understanding of practice in each office.
  • Development of metrics to analyse the impact of this reuse.

The UK IPO and the USPTO intend to continue collecting and analysing data from the action plan to identify areas for improvement, and for potential further cooperation between the offices.

Useful links

UK IPO press release

USPTO press release

 

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