The European Patent Office (EPO) and the State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China (SIPO) have recently joined forces to launch a new online patent service – The Global Dossier – which will provide a single point for free public access to information concerning European and Chinese patents or patent applications in the same patent family. This is the first stage of an overall project that will see the world’s five largest IP offices (the ‘IP5’ – EPO, SIPO, USPTO, KIPO and JPO) collectively share and make publicly available all relevant information concerning patents or patent applications filed at their respective offices. The expected timeline for this project is shown in the table below:
As many in the patent world know, in order to obtain information about a patent or patent application (such as bibliographic data, status information, claim scope, etc.) it was originally necessary to obtain and inspect paper records stored at that patent office’s local archives. More recently, some patent offices have made this information available online, allowing for web-based checks to be performed and thus easing the burden on the interested party. Nevertheless, the degree of availability still varies vastly from country to country and, in many cases, patent offices may only provide information in their local language. This makes the sourcing of accurate patent information from multiple jurisdictions both time consuming and challenging, particularly for those who have little experience in performing such checks.
Consequently, the IP5’s proposal for a single tool that allows a straightforward check of relevant information across five of the world’s major patent jurisdictions, is something that should be broadly welcomed by users of the patent system. This is particularly true when considering the EPO’s intention to use their machine translation service (Patent Translate) for the translation of non-English documents on other patent office file wrappers. For Chinese documents for example, our initial checks with a fluent Chinese speaker indicate that the translation quality provided by the EPO is both high and reliable.
In the long term, the Global Dossier program has the potential to be extended to include other national patent offices, such as those in the UK, Canada and Australia, and therefore further extend its global reach. However, this is likely to take several more years to be put into effect, meaning that – for the foreseeable future – users of the patent system will still need to rely on local checks in many countries.
In the meantime, with local contacts for over 100 countries around the world, Reddie & Grose LLP is ideally placed to help you check the status and progress of thousands of patents or patent applications across the globe. Please get in touch if you would like more information.
This article is for general information only. Its content is not a statement of the law on any subject and does not constitute advice. Please contact Reddie & Grose LLP for advice before taking before any action in reliance on it.