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EPO-CNIPA Joint Communiqué: Chinese applicants may continue to designate EPO as ISA

16 September 2022

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Nationals and residents of the People’s Republic of China
can continue to select the European Patent Office as their International
Searching Authority (ISA) for their international patent applications filed in
English under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). Following the agreement
between the EPO and the China National Intellectual Property Administration
(CNIPA), the pilot will be extended by one additional year until 30 November 2023 and up to
a further 3000 applications.

This decision is based on the positive
evaluation of the pilot which has been running since 1 December 2020.
Interest in this pilot has been remarkable with active participation from over
270 applicants – including universities, research institutes and private
individuals. In particular, both local and
international companies based in China showed a strong interest in obtaining
timely patent protection in Europe. By having their international searches
carried out by the EPO, pilot participants benefit from both more legal
certainty prior to entering the European phase and faster prosecution of their
Euro‑PCT applications.

The pilot also
enables 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 to file
a request for international preliminary examination with the EPO.

CNIPA Commissioner Dr Shen Changyu commented: The pilot has been widely participated since its
launch and provides  convenience for
applicants in acquiring IP protection in Europe. The extension of the pilot is
one of the important fruits of the comprehensive strategic cooperation between
the CNIPA and the EPO. We look forward to the continuous improvement of the
pilot in the future, and better serving the IP application and protection for
users. “

EPO President António Campinos greeted this development,
stating, “This pilot is another tangible result of our strategic
cooperation with CNIPA and it gives a useful alternative to all PCT applicants
in China who are interested in the European market. We welcome the extension of
this pilot as it will create more time and opportunities for users to evaluate
the expected benefits in the examination phase before the EPO.”

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