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Report on the Studies Focusing on the Four Issues Identified as Key to Harmonization

February 2013
International Division, Japan Patent Office

Discussions through various frameworks are being conducted in order to harmonize the patent system worldwide.

The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) had been enacted in the U.S. on September 16, 2011, which includes the transition from a first-to-invent to a first-to-file system of awarding patents, and thanks to this increasing momentum for patent system harmonization, discussions toward achieving international harmonization of patent systems had been started under a variety of international frameworks. Under these circumstances, the Tegernsee Group (See NOTE), which consists of the Trilateral Offices, namely the IP offices of Japan, the U.S., and Europe, and the IP Offices of major European countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Denmark, had been advancing discussions on patent system harmonization.
* Since the first meeting toward harmonization of patent systems and practices, attended by these IP offices, had been held at Tagernsee in the suburb of Munich, Germany, in July 2011, the attendees were called the "Tegernsee Group

Since April 2012, the Tegernsee Experts Group has been conducting detailed fact-finding studies to compare the systems and operations at each patent office. The Group is specifically studying the legal backgrounds of the systems in each country/region, focusing on 4 key issues, which are the “grace period”, “treatment of conflicting applications”, “18-month publication”, and “prior user rights”. At the 3rd Tegernsee Heads Meeting held in Geneva in October 2012, the report about the fact-finding study was approved, and is being provided here for viewer reference.
The JPO will conduct broad user-consultations and continue to actively participate in patent system harmonization dialogues. We sincerely hope that this report will be beneficial in terms of your gaining a better understanding about the efforts being made to achieve patent system harmonization.

[Last updated 3 October 2014]

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