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IP5 Offices discuss office-led initiatives on climate-related innovations

21 June 2023

IP 5 Annual meeting

Left to right: Mr António Campinos, President EPO, Ms Lisa Jorgenson, Deputy Director General, Patents and Technology Sector, WIPO, Ms Kathi Vidal, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director, USPTO, Dr Lee Insil,Commissioner, KIPO, Mr Hamano Koichi, Commissioner, JPO, Dr Shen Changyu, Commissioner, CNIPA

The heads of the five largest intellectual property (IP) offices, the European Patent Office (EPO), Japan Patent Office (JPO), Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA), and United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), collectively known as the IP5 Offices, met between 13 and 15 June 2023 for their 16th annual meeting. The focus of this year’s meeting, hosted by the USPTO in Honolulu, Hawaii, was to discuss the role of IP5 in addressing climate change through an accessible and inclusive IP system.

Kathi Vidal, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and USPTO Director chaired the meeting, which was attended by EPO President António Campinos, JPO Commissioner Koichi Hamano, KIPO Commissioner Dr. Insil Lee, and CNIPA Commissioner Dr. Changyu Shen. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) also participated as an observer, with Lisa Jorgenson, Deputy Director General of the Patents and Technology Sector, attending on behalf of Director General Daren Tang.

IP5 Offices presented their perspective as well as current and future initiatives to mitigate climate change. President Campinos described the steps taken at the EPO to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. He also highlighted the critical steps taken to incentivise sustainable innovation: prioritisation of delivery of high-quality patents, supporting users’ search for patent information on sustainable technologies with powerful tools such as Espacenet and its dedicated search platforms, namely the recently launched “Firefighting technologies” platform, and the EPO Observatory on patents and technology which will be launched later in the year to help foster the development of targeted solutions that address global needs like climate change. Further, the EPO President explained how examiner teams at the EPO had been brought together in eight technology communities that are aligned with European Union industrial ecosystems and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, matching today’s innovation landscape more closely. He concluded by stressing the critical role of the Unitary Patent system in reducing cost and complexity through enhanced legal certainty.

Reviewing recent initiatives and developments in IP5 cooperation, the Heads of Office endorsed the progress of the ongoing IP5 working group projects, including the implementation of the IP5 New Emerging Technologies/Artificial Intelligence (NET/AI) roadmap, efforts to harmonize e-signatures, format and drawings requirements, and the exploration of creating a global assignment.

The Offices acknowledged the importance of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and explored ways to collaborate to provide additional user value and incorporate sustainability into the IP5 framework. Last but not least, they amended and adopted the 2017 IP5 Vision Statement to include a broader scope of the IP5’s work, focusing on efforts to build a sustainable future and enhancing and streamlining the IP system.

“As a group responsible for the majority of the world’s global patent applications, we hold a unique responsibility to ensure equitable access to the patent system and the sustainable technologies it nurtures. I’m therefore delighted we have now incorporated this duty into our mission, enabling us to focus our collective efforts on empowering innovative talent from all over the world, regardless of background, to drive progress towards achieving the all-important sustainable development goals.” said EPO President António Campinos.

The meeting was preceded by a USPTO-hosted public programme entitled “The Sustainable Innovation Dialogue: Exploring the Relationship between IP and Climate Change” held on 13 June 2023. The IP5 Heads of Office used the opportunity to directly engage with stakeholders. They discussed IP5 Office initiatives on climate-related matters, climate and green technologies, and challenges for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups in the climate-related innovation space.

The meeting schedule also included a tour of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Inouye Regional Centre. The Heads of Office participated in a joint programme with NOAA to discuss IP and innovations related to climate and blue economy.

The next IP5 heads of office meeting will be hosted by KIPO in 2024.

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