Possibility for Chinese patent applicants to select the EPO as ISA
A two-year pilot programme allowing Chinese applicants to select the European Patent Office as international search authority (ISA) will start on December 1st, 2020.
1. The pilot programme will be available for PCT applications filed in English by Chinese residents or nationals filing either with the Chinese Patent Office (CNIPA) or with the World Intellectual Property Organization's International Bureau (IB) as receiving Office.
PCT applicants who are nationals or residents of the People's Republic of China and whose international search was performed by the EPO as ISA will then also be able to file a request for international preliminary examination with the EPO.
During a transitional phase, applicants filing their international application with the CNIPA as receiving Office and choosing the EPO as ISA will be required to pay the international search fee directly to the EPO in euros (EUR). It is planned to soon enable applicants participating in the pilot to pay this fee to the CNIPA in renminbi (CNY) on filing their application.
2. Choosing the EPO as an International Search Authority is for example a good choice for Chinese applicants wishing to accelerate the prosecution of their application at the EPO. Indeed, in this case, the patent application is examined during the European regional phase without a supplementary European Search. In addition, the prosecution at the EPO during the European regional phase could be even further accelerated by entering the European phase before the expiration of the 31-months deadline and requesting early processing.
3. The pilot programme is limited to a total of 2 500 applications in the first 12 months and 3 000 applications in the second 12 months.
This IP Alert is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.