China, Europe to start pilot program on international patent search

The China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) and the European Patent Office (EPO) will launch a two-year pilot program that enables Chinese patent applicants to designate the EPO as an additional option for international searches, sources with the CNIPA said.

The program, which will start on December 1, will be open to applicants filing with either the CNIPA or the World Intellectual Property Organization's International Bureau as the receiving office. Chinese nationals and residents can select the EPO as their international searching authority for their applications filed in English under the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

The number of applications is limited to 2,500 in the first 12 months and 3,000 in the second 12 months, said a joint communique released by the CNIPA and the EPO on Tuesday.

The pilot program is one of the outcomes of the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two intellectual property (IP) offices and will help Chinese applicants to acquire IP protection in Europe, said Shen Changyu, head of the CNIPA.

During a transitional phase, applicants filing their international applications with the CNIPA as the receiving office and choosing the EPO for the international search will be required to pay the international search fee directly to the EPO in euros, read the communique.

The program also plans to soon enable participating applicants to pay this fee to the CNIPA in Renminbi on filing their applications.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency