The United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) and the State Intellectual Property Office of China (SIPO) have launched a new service that will allow the two offices to exchange patent application priority documents - directly and electronically. According to the PTO's announcement, this new service will allow the PTO and the SIPO to share information, streamline the patent application process, and reduce costs for inventors who are pursuing global patent rights. The service will also allow the PTO and the SIPO, with appropriate permissions, to obtain electronic copies of priority documents filed with the other office from its electronic records management system. Although inventors will no longer need to obtain and file paper copies of the priority documents, they will still be responsible for ensuring that these documents are provided in a timely manner. The PTO exchanges priority documents through secure electronic connections using the Trilateral Document Access Web Services system at no cost to the inventor, thereby reducing the administrative costs associated with handling paper copies of priority documents and scanning them into the electronic image record management systems of the PTO and SIPO.