In 2010, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and U.K. Intellectual Property Office established a partnership intended to reduce the administrative burden of each through more determined collaboration. This week, the pair issued a joint report detailing the progress of the initiative to date.
"This work-sharing effort represents a major step forward in our ongoing cooperation with the UKIPO, and we are pleased with the results thus far," USPTO director David Kappos said. "By making more efficient and effective use of each other's work, we can reduce the cost of doing business and help innovators move their products to market faster, with more predictability and certainty."
The majority of this collaboration came into play during search processes. For instance, 59 percent of UKIPO examiners found the prior art searches performed by their American counterparts to be useful in their own examinations.
Some of the more interesting findings in the report concern the discrepancies between the two offices. British patent examiners were in full agreement with USPTO reviewers on the topic of novelty in 50 percent of cases. However, American examiners were in full agreement with the novelty conclusions drawn by their counterparts just 20 percent of the time.