EPO Symposium on Harmonization: Tegernsee and BeyondOn February 12, 2015, a symposium titled "EPO SYMPOSIUM ON HARMONISATION: TEGERNSEE AND BEYOND" was held at the EPO (Munich). From JIPA, Ms. Miyashita, leader of the International Policy PJ, and Mr. Ohashi, Chairperson of the 1st International Patent Committee, participated in the symposium.
Since July 2011, the Tegernsee Experts Group, which consists of 7 patent offices (JPO, USPTO, EPO, UKIPO, DPMA, INPI and DKPTO), has been holding meetings to discuss four harmonization issues (18-month publication, conflicting applications, grace period and prior user rights). In April 2014, the Tegernsee Report was publicized. Currently, discussions are being continued only within the framework of the WIPO developed country group (Group B+ meetings).
This symposium was held in order to present the results of the studies conducted by the Tegernsee Experts Group, to clarify issues by listening to users' opinions, and to cover those issues in future discussions by Group B+ members. Furthermore, at the symposium, the UKIPO, the JPO and the USPTO made presentations about their respective round table meetings held last year to discuss these four issues.
A total of 70 people, representing a total of 32 patent offices and user organizations, participated in the symposium from various countries. Heated discussions were held regarding each of the four issues. JIPA also expressed its opinions on each issue.
This symposium, where essential elements and the current state of each issue were clarified, is expected to further accelerate future harmonization in each country.
On the date of the symposium, JIPA had a bilateral meeting with Chief Executive Officer Mr. Alty of the UKIPO, who serves as the Chair of the Group B+, and exchanged frank opinions. Mr. Alty requested JIPA's active involvement in the promotion of harmonization.
As the International Policy PJ, JIPA is going to make more efforts to make proposals concerning harmonization from the perspective of these four issues and also to actively participate in the discussions about harmonization conducted from different perspectives including a procedural perspective, such as the description requirement and the unity of invention, in order to create a more user-friendly patent system.
Mr. Alty and Ms. Miyashita