A new joint pilot project between the EPO and CNIPA will turn the EPO into the International Searching Authority for patent applications from China, starting on 1 December 2020. This transformation from the EPO into ISA from China is in line with the statistics for patent applications to the EPO in 2019: China is among the top.
Pilot project EPA-CNIPA turns EPO into ISA
The European Patent Office (EPO) is currently announcing that a new joint pilot project between the EPO and CNIPA will make the EPO the International Searching Authority (ISA) for patent applications from China: it will start on 1 December 2020.
This pilot project will enable nationals and residents of the People’s Republic of China to select the EPO as their International Searching Authority (ISA) for applications filed in English under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).
It is open to all applicants filing a patent application either through CNIPA or through the International Bureau (IB) of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) as receiving Office.
The project is designed as a pilot project and is limited accordingly: it will run for a total of 2 years, with a total of 2 500 applications in the first 12 months and 3 000 applications in the second 12 months. Interested parties should therefore act quickly.
Closer cooperation between EPO and CNIPA
The new pilot project is part of the intention declared at the end of 2019 for closer mutual cooperation between the EPO and CNIPA – we reported. Among other things, a much acclaimed comparative study by the EPO and CNIPA on “Computer Implemented Inventions” has since been published.
Statistics: Patent applications to the EPO in 2019
The conversion of the EPO into ISA for Chinese applicants also corresponds to the current figures for international patent applications. The EPO has already published the Patent Index 2019, which is statistics on the number of patent applications filed with the EPO in 2019.
Patents on digital communication and medical technology
According to the Patent Index 2019, the area of digital communication and computer technology at the EPO recorded the strongest growth in 2019 and, for the first time since 2006, was ahead of medical technology in absolute patent applications, which is traditionally and still very active in patents. In concrete figures, 14 175 patent applications for digital communication were filed at the EPO, compared with 13 833 patent applications for medical technology.
The growth fields of 5 G networks and artificial intelligence (AI) are also counted in the digital communication sector. It is therefore not surprising that China, the USA and Europe are now on a par in this technology field, each accounting for around a quarter of all patents filed with the EPO. The leading patent applicants in 2019 in the field of digital communications were Huawei, Ericsson and Qualcomm.
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