The CNIPA-EPO pilot will start on December 1st 2020 and will allow nationals and residents of P.R. China new strategic options as well as substantive cost reductions.

Starting on December 1st 2020, and for a period of two years at least, nationals and residents of P.R. China will be able to participate in the CNIPA-EPO pilot. 

When filing an international application in English, nationals and residents of P.R. China will thus be able to select the European Patent Office (EPO) as International Search Authority. They will thus benefit from the opinion of the EPO long before entry into national phase, enabling them to save costs, and to have in advance of the entry into Europe a very good knowledge of chances to obtain a European patent.

After the EPO is selected as International Search Authority, upon entry into European phase the EPO will not need to carry out further searches, thus accelerating prosecution. Furthermore, as the EPO performed the international search, the usual supplementary search fee of 1.350 EUR will not be due.

Another important benefit for applicants using the CNIPA-EPO pilot is having knowledge of the opinion from the EPO examiner, well in advance of the date for entering Europe with the international patent application. Applicants will thus be able to make the decision to enter the European phase with an application that is best suited (possibly through appropriate amendments brought to the claims) for a fast grant of a European patent.

Additionally, during international phase, applicants will be able to request preliminary examination by the EPO. On top of providing more occasions to obtain a positive opinion from the EPO, this will result in a reduction of 25% of the examination fee in Europe.