The service originally launched in June 2014 and provided a single resource for accessing patents from both the EPO and the Chinese Patent Office (SIPO). An applicant often files multiple applications directed to the same inventive concept in multiple jurisdictions. Therefore, the ability to view multiple documents from one of these ‘patent families’ minimises the time and effort required to review the patent prosecution file in each jurisdiction encouraging sharing of work product by patent offices.
The service is an initiative provided by the IP5 Offices – a collaboration between five of the world’s leading patent offices (China, Japan, Korea, the US and the EPO). The aim of the partnership is to modernise and improve the efficiency of the patent examination process worldwide. Together, these five offices handle about 80% of the world’s patent applications, and are best placed to address the growing backlogs in applications worldwide.
In April 2015 data from the Japanese and Korean Offices were made available through the service, and this most recent extension includes the file information from the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
The database of granted patents and published applications is available for free. The Common Citation Document application on the EPO website is a user-friendly access point to the service. All family members will appear together with key documents such as search and examination reports.
The Global Dossier service is just one example of the work being done by IP5. In the recent meeting of the Global Dossier Task Force, a list of goals was drawn up, highlighting the aims of the collaboration based on surveys performed within the patent industry. This list contains incorporating legal status information into the dossier service, and providing alerts when important events occur. Machine translations and many other additions to the service are likely to be seen in the coming years as collaboration between these powerful offices becomes ever stronger.
The extension of the dossier service may not be a game changer for applicants. However, this move to make it quick and easy for patent office examiners to provide a uniform, consistent approach with other patent offices may result in patents being granted more quickly and with similar scope of protection in different jurisdictions improving certainty for applicants. Modernised and efficient patent offices can only be a good thing.
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.