On 19th May 2010, the PCT patent forum held by ACPAA and WIPO opened its curtains in Beijing. The participants were Mr. James Pooley, Deputy Director General for Patents of WIPO, Liu jian，Section Chief，International Cooperation Department of SIPO, Yin Yan ling of SIPO, Gao Lulin, Honorary President of ACPAA, Mr. Yang Wu, President of ACPAA, Ma Hao, Qiao Dexi, Deputy President of ACPAA, Li Jianrong, Secretary general of ACPAA, Guo Xiaodong, Cui Xiaoguang, Jiang Jiancheng, Qi xiaohuan, Standing Director of ACPAA, Cao Lingling, Zhang weibo, Deputy Secretary-Genera of ACPAA, the majority practitioners from China patent agencies and representatives from multinational corporations in all 27 people. The forum was presided by Mr.Yang Wu, President of ACPAA.
Above all, Yang Wu, President of ACPAA delivered the opening speech to welcome Mr. Pooley, Deputy Director General for Patents of WIPO, and all the guests. President Yang made an introduction about the cooperation between ACPAA and WIPO. Honorary President Gao Lulin briefed Mr Pooley on the development of China patent system and the stable increasing trend of China PCT application.
Mr. Pooley gave the passionate speech in the meeting and started off on sincere thanking ACPAA for the warm welcome. Mr. Pooley summarized the utilization situation and development condition of PCT. In addition, he had high praise for ACPAA, as the permanent observer, actively participating and cooperating WIPO relevant affairs, and pointed up PCT would have very great progress in China. Further, Mr. Pooley hoped that he could fully acquaint with China patent agents’ opinions and suggestions on PCT system through this forum, so as to improve PCT system for the applicants using.
During the discussion, attendants brought up many opinions and suggestions, and got into heated discussion with the following issues.
I. Validity periods and grace periods of priorities in the member countries
The ACPAA suggested that the WIPO should promote to uniform rules about validity periods and grace periods of priorities. Mr. Pooley believes that raising this issue is very helpful to the WIPO. WIPO has noticed that the inconformity of laws of member countries increases difficulties of unifying the validity periods and grace periods of priorities. It hopes, through coordination, to enable all member countries to better utilize the PCT system. Concerning this issue, WIPO’s current major work is to refine relevant laws and their variations.
II. Quality issues of PCT international search report (ISR)
Participants suggested that WIPO may push forward International Searching Authorities (ISA) to improve the quality of PCT International Search Reports. Mr. Pooley considered that there are two reasons that contribute to the PCT International Search Reports discrepancy: one reason is the applicants are likely to choose the International Searching Authority which may issue the best ISR for them; another reason is the issue of searching fee. For quality issues of PCT international search reports, WIIPO hoped that an international standard will be established to objectively and transparently evaluate search reports issued by various International Searching Authorities.
III. The issue of PCT application charge
Participants pointed out that the application charge on PCT is relative high, and China agents suffer serious exchange rate losses in dollar terms, thus they expected that WIPO could give a serious consideration about reduction of application charges and acception of RMB payment. Mr. Pooley believed that detailing PCT application fee, and allowing the applicants to select the service items can lower the application charge. In addition, the problem about exchange rate losses has been noticed by WIPO.
IV. The discussion on regulations of non-English PCT applications in the US patent laws
The participants argued that the U.S. did not accept non-English PCT applications, which is an obstacle for the applicants whose applications enter into the US phase of PCT. Mr. Pooley said that there is no effective way to change this situation, but WIPO will make efforts to reduce the workload and cost.
V. The suggestion on a feedback mechanism of PCT application documents
The participants complained that they did not receive any feedback from WIPO after they submitted PCT application documents. Thus, they expected that PCT to have a feedback mechanism, which is especially important for the urgent documents they submitted. Mr. Pooley believed this proposal is quite reasonable.
VI. The suggestion on Receiving Offices checking PCT application documents
Participants presented that WIPO could request Receiving Offices to give feedback after they received the PCT application documents and finished formal examinations. Specifically, once any errors were found in the application documents, Receiving Offices should inform the applicants to correct and resubmit them. Mr. Pooley expressed his approval of this suggestion.
VII. The suggestion on Official Holidays of Receiving Offices
The participants claimed that when they submitted application documents in the first day after the official holiday, application documents occasionally were published as Restoration of Right of Priority by Receiving Offices according the Rule 26bis(3) of Regulations under the PCT, thus they suggested that WIPO should input official holidays into the system and update them each year. Mr. Pooley expressed it is a reasonable suggestion.
Ⅷ. The suggestion on Strengthening publicity and education of PCT system
Participants suggested that WIPO should enrich PCT content in its website so as to assist applicants, particularly the medium sized and small enterprises, to learn and use PCT system. Meanwhile, China patent agents put forward several ways to strengthen PCT publicity, such as printing PCT brochures and opening PCT hotline, etc.
Mr. Pooley believed that these issues would be valuable, and helpful for PCT future development. He would begin to study and solve these issues as soon as possible, and expected this forum would continue from now on.
All the participants made adequate preparations to make great success of this forum, hereon; ACPAA expressed sincere gratitude to them. ACPAA and WIPO candidly exchanged opinions in terms of relevant issues, strengthened mutual communication and improved mutual understanding, so as to set up a good platform for our further cooperation in the future.