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20th Annual Trilateral Conference

The 20th Annual Trilateral Conference hosted by the EPO was held in Vienna, Austria this year. The summary of these Conferences is as follows.

1. Schedule

  • Pre-Conference 4-6 November, 2002
  • Conference 8 November, 2002
  • Symposium 7 November, 2002

2. Participants

  • JPO Mr. Shinjiro ONO, Deputy Commissioner et al
  • EPO Dr.h.c. Ingo KOBER, President et al
  • USPTO Mr. James ROGAN, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director et al
  • WIPO Mr.Jay ERSTLING, Director, Office of the PCT et al (observer)

3. Trilateral Cooperation

Since 1983, the Trilateral Offices, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the European Patent Office (EPO) and the Japan Patent Office (JPO) along with the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) have met to discuss areas of cooperation in sharing search tools. In seeking ways to benefit in the advances in information technology in establishing international standards, and in comparing patent search/examination practices.

Each Fall efforts of the Trilateral Offices culminate in discussion and mutual understanding by the Heads of the three Offices at the Annual Conference. The Conference is proceeded by a technical conference of a meeting of experts from the Trilateral Offices and WIPO. The year 2002 marks the 20th year the Conference has convened.

4. Summary of the Conferences

Pre-Conference and Conference

In view of the surge in examination workload in the Trilateral Offices in recent years, the Trilateral Offices discussed and exchanged views on the current situations of their Offices and future strategy of the Trilateral Cooperation. They discussed and adopted the new Trilateral Project Layout which was prepared based on the layout drafted at the Trilateral Technical Meeting in May 2002. Opinion exchanges and discussions by experts were carried out on a project-to-project basis in such fields as mutual exploitation of search/examination results, analytical comparisons of examination practice in advanced technology areas, TRINet, and data exchanges.

International Symposium

Presentations were made by the Trilateral Founding Fathers, current heads of the Trilateral Offices, and representatives of users respectively under the themes of "Visions at the Time (a presentation made by the Trilateral Founding Fathers)," "Mastering the Workloads: the View of the Trilateral Offices (by heads of the Trilateral Offices)," and "the Demand for Patents: the View of the Trilateral Offices (by representatives of users)." A panel discussion was also held between representatives of the Trilateral Offices and users.

5. Major results/achievements of the 20th Conference

Future strategy for Trilateral Cooperation

As regards a common problem of the workloads, the Trilateral Offices exchanged information about the current situations and their respective strategic plans for mastering the workloads.

Adoption of a new Project Layout

Based on the proposal drafted at the Technical Meeting in May 2002, a new Trilateral Project Layout was adopted, in which the former projects have been sorted and incorporated into the new structure. The projects will be implemented under this Project Layout.

Outline of major projects

- Mutual exploitation of search/examination results

Based on the Bilateral Agreement between the JPO and the USPTO in June 2002, adjustments have been made to the projects relating to mutual exploitation of search results. Also, the JPO and the EPO agreed to start discussing a project to mutually exploit search results. Thus, an agreement was reached that experience and results obtained through such bilateral projects should be shared among the Trilateral Offices.

Link to:Examination Cooperation between the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Japan Patent Office(JPO)

- Analytical comparisons of patenting practice in advanced technology areas

- a. Report on comparative study on inventions involving 3-D protein structures

The Trilateral Offices adopted a report on comparative study on inventions involving 3-D protein structures. Through this comparative study, the Trilateral Offices confirmed that they have similar views on the whole about such inventions, with only a few exceptions, in such aspects as patent eligible subject matter or statutory inventions, industrial applicability, enabling requirements, support requirements, clarity, novelty, and inventive step. This report will be posted on the Trilateral website. The Trilateral Offices have also agreed to publish this report on other media than the website from the standpoint of information provision to the user communities.

Link to:

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