The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) hosted a meeting last week of the heads of the world’s five largest intellectual property offices in Cupertino, California. Known as the IP5, members include the USPTO, the European Patent Office (EPO), the Japan Patent Office (JPO), the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), and the State Intellectual Property Office of the People's Republic of China (SIPO).

The IP5 Offices account for 90% of all patent applications filed worldwide and for 93% of all work carried out under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

The vision of the IP5 Offices is global co-operation, which has been defined as ‘the elimination of unnecessary duplication of work among the IP5 Offices, the enhancement of patent examination efficiency and quality and guarantee of the stability of patent right’.

During the meeting, the heads renewed their commitment to:

  • develop the ‘Global Dossier’, a system to simplify the viewing and management of applications filed in the IP5 Offices
  • adopt the Global Classification Initiative, a new effort to harmonise patent classification
  • adopt an IP5 Patent Information policy, in which each of the offices will work towards providing barrier free access to patent data
  • develop a Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot project between all IP5 Offices
  • advance harmonisation of substantive and procedural patent law

More information on the IP5 Offices can be found at the IP5 website.