On April 1, 2010, a series of patent practice changes at the European Patent Office (EPO) took effect, including new search and examination rules, as well as new timelines for filing divisional applications. As noted in a recent summary announcement (available HERE), the EPO notes that the changes “relate to the filing of divisional applications, pre-search communication between examiner and applicant, obligatory response to the search opinion prior to entry into substantive examination, a requirement for applicants to identify and indicate the basis for amendments and a clearer restriction of examination only to the subject matter searched.” A summary entitled “Realigning the European patent grant procedure” (available HERE) is also provided by the EPO, as is a Web page with links to each rule change (available HERE) and a Web page entitled “New edition of the EPO Guidelines for Examination” (available HERE) with several embedded links. I personally have received a number of notices from my European agents advising me of these changes. If you manage an international portfolio with pending European applications and have not been advised by your respective agents, consider reaching out to them so that they can advise as to any deadlines or practice changes that may impact your pending portfolio.
The European Patent Office (EPO) recently announced additional details regarding its East Meets West 2010 forum to be held from April 21-23, 2010, in Vienna, Austria. As noted by the EPO (main forum webpage HERE), “Japan, China, and Korea are all among the five top patenting nations in the world, making Asia one of today’s important innovation hubs,” and “[f]or patent searchers worldwide accessing and understanding patent information from Asia has become a must.” This forum is directed toward users of patent information who “need to know about the latest database offerings in the field of Asian patent data, are looking for an opportunity to meet experts from Asia and Europe, [and] want to gain new insights, share experiences or simply get inspiration from colleagues and other patent information users.” Two training sessions will be held on April 21 (regarding classification matters and advanced features of free Asian patent databases), with an introductory session to be held on April 22 and a series of product presentations, discussion rounds, and a poster session on April 23. This will be the third East Meets West session hosted by the EPO.