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EPO intensifies co-operation with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office

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12 June 2018

Johanne Bélisle, CEO of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) and EPO President Benoît Battistelli

EPO President Benoît Battistelli met with Johanne Bélisle, Commissioner of Patents, Registrar of Trademarks and CEO of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), in San Francisco to launch a comprehensive bilateral co-operation programme on patents. The meeting was held on the side-lines of the 11th IPBC Global congress hosted by IAM Magazine, where the EPO President will deliver a keynote address on the topic "The patent system in the age of Artificial Intelligence". The EPO and the CIPO signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Bilateral Co-operation as well as an MoU on the Introduction of the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) at CIPO. Both MoUs will be implemented through a Biennial Work Plan for 2018-20, which was also signed on this occasion.

"We are very pleased to intensify our co-operation with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office and in particular to sign the Memorandum of Understanding on the Introduction of the CPC at CIPO. This will contribute to improving the global patent system, since there will now be 27 offices around the world using the CPC scheme, the new global standard for refined patent classification," said EPO President Benoît Battistelli. "Canada is a major destination for trade and investment from European companies so this co-operation will yield valuable benefits for enterprises and innovators from both regions."

"The European Union is one of the top IP filing destinations for Canadian businesses. We are pleased to strengthen our co-operation with the European Patent Office, as it will enhance our delivery of quality IP services and better support innovators and entrepreneurs' business goals in Canada and Europe," said CIPO Chief Executive Officer Johanne Bélisle.

With a view to fostering innovation and bilateral trade between Europe and Canada, the co-operation is expected to yield major benefits for applicants from both jurisdictions by providing high-quality, expeditious and cost-efficient examination, while avoiding duplication of work and reducing pendency times. With 1 514 European patent applications filed in 2017, Canadian businesses are in 6th place among non-EPO member states as regards the origin of patent applications at the EPO. Patent filings at CIPO of European (EPC) origin totalled almost 10 000 in 2016/2017, which equates to almost one third of the total number of patent filings at CIPO for this period.

The MoU on Bilateral Co-operation foresees joint activities in the areas of patenting procedures, search tools, examination and quality management, as well as use and exchange of patent data and databases. The signature of the MoU on CPC paves the way for CIPO to adhere to the same classification scheme as other patent offices, facilitating access for users and experts alike to technical information contained in patent documents across different jurisdictions, and ultimately improving the quality of the patents granted.

Already in January this year, the EPO and CIPO extended their Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) programme for accelerated treatment of applications by a further period of 3 years.

The launch of this major co-operation programme between the two patent offices is a further milestone in the historic partnership between Europe and Canada, which was elevated to the highest strategic and economic level through the provisional entry into force of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) in September 2017. The EU and Canada are already major trading partners and CETA is expected to boost bilateral trade and investment even further. The EU is Canada's second-biggest trading partner after the United States, accounting for 9.6% of its trade in goods with the world in 2016. Canada accounted for almost 2% of the EU's total external trade in goods in 2016. The value of trade in goods between the EU and Canada was €64.3 billion in 2016; trade in services amounted to €30.1 billion in 2015.

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