A Handbook of Contemporary Research
Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property series
Edited by Toshiko Takenka
Chapter 9: Trilateral Cooperation – Mutual Exploitation of Search and Examination Results Among Patent Offices with a View to Establishing a System of Rationalized Work-Sharing
9 Trilateral cooperation1 – mutual exploitation of search and examination results among patent offices with a view to establishing a system of rationalized work-sharing2 Shinjiro Ono3 Introduction Each of the Trilateral Offices – USPTO, EPO, and JPO – has been hosting and taking part in annual Trilateral Conferences since 1983 to pursue a cooperative and collaborative approach to solving challenges and issues which each of the offices face in common. Towards the end of the last century, a shared challenge was to establish a ‘paperless patent office’. The beginning of the current century has seen an increasing focus on efforts to employ work-sharing with a view to reducing the ever increasing workload brought about by the growth of global patent applications. Historical background4 In the early 1980s, the Trilateral Offices were faced with a dramatic rise in the number of patent application filings. The Japan Patent Office (JPO) received more than 410,000 patent and utility model applications in 1982, which amounted to a 15% annual increase in the number of applications filed. As a result, the JPO projected that unless action was taken, the application examination period would increase from two to seven years, while its archive of 28 million paper documents would expand to 50 million within a decade. Kazuo Wakasugi, then Commissioner of the JPO, later acknowledged that these 1 The Trilateral Cooperation, the website of the Trilateral Cooperation (2007), at http://www.trilateral.net. 2 Shinjiro Ono, Cooperation the Key to Reducing Pendency Times, INTELLECTUAL ASSET MANAGEMENT MAGAZINE (August/September 2006), at...
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