By Donald Zuhn --
USPTO and EPO Announce Formal Launch
of Cooperative Patent Classification System
On January 2, both the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and European Patent Office announced the formal launch of the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) system, a global classification system for patent documents (see USPTO press release and EPO press release). In September, the two offices has announced the publication of an advanced version of the CPC scheme and some final CPC definitions ahead of the last week's official launch (see "USPTO and EPO Announce Launch of Cooperative Patent Classification System").
The CPC is a detailed classification system that includes approximately 250,000 classification symbols based on the International Patent Classification (IPC), which is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The new classification system, which incorporates the best classification practices of both the U.S. and European systems, will enable efficient prior art searches to be conducted and is also expected to enhance efficiency by supporting work-sharing initiatives designed to reduce unnecessary work duplication. The USPTO noted that the CPC "will be used by the USPTO and more than 45 patent offices -- a user community totaling more than 20,000 patent examiners -- all sharing the same classifications helping to establish the CPC as an international standard."
Building on the CPC launch package, which included the complete CPC scheme, 59 of the 625 final CPC definitions, and a CPC-to-IPC concordance, the USPTO and EPO provided updates to the CPC definitions on November 9 and December 17, 2012.
USPTO Establishes Permanent PPH Program with TIPO
Last month, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced that it was establishing a permanent Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) program with the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office (TIPO), effective as of September 1, 2012. The establishment of the permanent PPH program comes one year after the USPTO announced the establishment of a PPH pilot program between the USPTO, as the designated representative of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), and the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office (TIPO), as the designated representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in the United States (see "USPTO News Briefs," September 1, 2011).
As with other PPH programs, the USPTO-TIPO PPH permits an applicant having an application whose claims have been allowed in one of the offices to fast track the examination of an application in the other office, such that the latter application is examined out of turn. In particular, an applicant receiving a ruling from either the USPTO or TIPO that at least one claim in an application is patentable may request that the other office fast track the examination of corresponding claims in the corresponding application in that office. Information regarding the full implementation of the USPTO-TIPO PPH can be found here.
USPTO Selects Site of Dallas-Fort Worth Satellite Office
In a press release issued in November, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced that it had selected the Terminal Annex Federal Building as the site of the Dallas-Fort Worth satellite office. The Dallas-Fort Worth satellite office is one of three satellite offices the USPTO plans to open in addition to the satellite office that was opened in Detroit in July (see "USPTO to Open Three More Satellite Offices"). In opening the additional satellite offices, the USPTO is exercising its authority under to § 23 of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act to establish three or more satellite offices in the United States by September 16, 2014, subject to available resources. The USPTO noted that the Terminal Annex Federal Building is located along the southern edge of Dealey Plaza, which was the location of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 (see image at right; the Terminal Annex Federal Building is the building in the lower right hand corner). Last August, the USPTO announced that the Denver satellite office would be located in the Byron G. Rogers Federal Building.