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Group B+

What is the “Group B+”?

Group B+, a framework of developed countries comprising the IP offices from 47 countries and 2 organizations*1, aims to harmonize substantive patent laws. The group primarily discusses four major topics related to substantive patent law harmonization (SPLH): grace period, conflicting applications, prior user rights and prior art, as well as Client-Patent Attorney Privilege (CAP).

*1 Specifically speaking, this includes WIPO Group B (developed countries) member countries, EU member countries, European Patent Convention (EPC) member countries, the European Patent Office (EPO), the European Commission, and South Korea.

Recent Meetings

  • Group B+ Plenary Meeting(July 2023)

    On 12 July 2023, Group B+ held its Plenary Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland for the first time in four years, which was hosted by the European Patent Office (EPO) as the secretariat. The Industry Trilateral*2 (IT3), International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (AIPPI), International Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys (FICPI), IP Federation, and Korea Intellectual Property Association (KINPA) were invited.

    With respect to substantive patent law harmonization (SPLH), individual user associations indicated that the SPLH package is still being discussed internally within their organizations, and expressed their high expectations for these discussions within the Group B+. The IT3 and FICPI reported on their respective activities from 2022-2023, and the EPO reported on the SPLH symposium held in Europe.

    With respect to client-attorney privilege (CAP), Switzerland, which has been leading the discussions, reported on the progress of these discussions. Many user associations expressed their appreciation for the activities, and requested the continuation of these discussions.

*2 The IT3 is composed of the Japan Intellectual Property Association (JIPA), American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA), Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), and Business Europe (BE).

Study on Substantive Patent Law Harmonization (SPLH)

In order to advance discussions at the Group B+ meeting, the JPO has conducted studies on matters including grace period, and is disseminating the results both domestically and internationally, as follows:

Related Links

[Last updated 18 January 2024]

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