Report of the Harmonisation Committee (HC)

F. Leyder (BE), Secretary

This report completed on 20th February 2017 covers the period since my previous report dated 2nd November 2016. The Harmonisation Committee deals with all questions concerning the worldwide harmonisation of Patent Law, and in particular within the framework of WIPO.

25th Session of the SCP

The 25th session of the Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP) of WIPO was held in Geneva from the 12th to the 16th of December 2016. epi has been represented by the undersigned then by John Brown. The meeting papers are or will be available on the WIPO website:

26th Session of the SCP

The 26th session of the SCP will be held in Geneva; it has been postponed by one week and will now take place from the 3rd to the 6th of July 2017. epi will be represented by John Brown then by the undersigned.

The meeting papers are or will be available on the WIPO website:

Discussions on Substantive Patent Law Harmonisation in Group B+

The meetings of Group B+ do not involve observers, however some (old) documents have been made available on the EPO website during the period reviewed (during which the webpage has also been refreshed):

The newly posted documents were:

2015: Promoting Transparent Use of the Grace Period (Sept.2015) and Treatment of Conflicting Applications (Sept.2015)

2016: B+ Workstream on Prior User Rights: Further Work on the Scope of Prior User Rights

International substantive patent law harmonisation was on the agenda of meetings of the SACEPO/Working Party on Rules (16th November 2016) and of the Committee on Patent Law (21st November 2016), in both cases for information.

Group B+ Users' Symposium

As mentioned in my previous report, the Group B+ Plenary meeting took place on 4th October 2016. An agreed statement has been published, mentioning:

[...] Group B+ reaffirmed the importance of continued engagement with all interested stakeholders. As a next step towards finalising the consultation document, the Group agreed to hold a user symposium to allow a wider range of users to contribute to the development of proposals.

In the "save the date" message sent to epi, the EPO stated that the purpose was in particular to allow Industry Groups from Group B+ delegations not represented in the Industry Trilateral, i.e. from Australia, Canada, Korea and New-Zealand, the opportunity to be informed of the harmonisation process within the Industry Trilateral and its results so far. It was thought that these national Industry Groups, some of which operate under systems quite different from the Industry Trilateral participants, might also perhaps contribute to the process, inter alia by bringing fresh views which might be beneficial to the exercise.

The Users' Symposium, entitled "Cornerstones for patent law harmonisation: a B+ Sub-Group / Industry Symposium" will be held on 20th June 2017, at the EPO in Munich. epi would be cordially invited to designate two participants to attend on its behalf.