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EPO and Argentina step up co-operation on patents

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EPO President Benoît Battistelli with Dámaso Pardo, President of INPIEPO President Benoît Battistelli met with Dámaso Pardo, President of INPI on 5 February in Buenos Aires to discuss recent developments in patents and innovation and the co-operation between the two regions in this field. On this occasion, the EPO also signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Institute of Industrial Property of Argentina (INPI) on the introduction of the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) by INPI.

"I am pleased to see that the strategic partnership between the EPO and INPI, which started in 2017, is already producing very tangible results," said EPO President Benoît Battistelli. "This MoU on CPC is only one of the many activities INPI is undertaking with EPO support to progress in the modernisation of the Argentinian patent system. The ultimate goal of our co-operation is to support innovation and economic growth between our regions. We are looking forward to the next step of this co-operation, which we expect will lead to an enhanced co-operation between our offices. For European companies, increased harmonisation of patent procedures means that they will be able to expect similar conditions for protecting their inventions in Europe and Argentina."

"We continue working to insert our country intelligence into the world, based on the best international practices," said Argentina's Commerce Secretary Miguel Braun, adding: "We are taking another step in the co-operation between Europe and Argentina, providing more tools to Argentina and creating new investment opportunities."

"The signature of this MoU responds to the strategic objective to simplify all the procedures of the public administration which is being brought forward by President Macri," said Dámaso Pardo, President of INPI. "The use of the CPC will lead to a more efficient search process and will facilitate the substantive examination done by INPI examiners. This will bring a significant benefit to the public, as it will improve the timeliness of the patent granting process."

Towards a common classification scheme for patents

In deciding to adopt the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC), INPI joins other Latin American countries which already use the CPC, including Mexico, Brazil and Chile. Officially launched by the EPO and the USPTO in January 2013, the CPC is now considered the new global standard for refined patent classification. It is already in use, or will soon be used, by 26 patent offices around the world. Applying the same classification scheme can facilitate access for users and experts alike to technical information contained in patent documents, and improve the quality of patents. Under the agreement signed yesterday, Argentina's IP office will start classifying its publications in the CPC by January 2019. The EPO and the INPI will co-operate on IT aspects and training, including the provision of training to all INPI patent examiners.

At the meeting, the EPO and INPI presidents also discussed progress on other joint projects laid out in a memorandum of understanding on bilateral co-operation signed by the two offices in May 2017. This agreement covers areas such as access to information, sharing data and tools, improved patent procedures, and training.

Argentina is an important destination for trade and investment from European companies. The EU is Argentina's biggest foreign investor and second most important trading partner (after Brazil), accounting for 15.7% of total Argentinean trade in 2016. The European Union is currently negotiating a free trade agreement with the four founding members of Mercosur, namely Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

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