Date: 14 May 2018
By Hugh Dunlop
The European Patent Office has proposed an option to defer examination for 3 years. The scheme is referred to as “User Driven Early Certainty” and is explained in memo CA/PL 4/18 of 25 January 2018 from the President to the Committee for Patent Law.
It was presented as ready for publication with a start date of 1 July 2018 but various user groups have expressed reservations and outgoing President Batistelli told the eip Council at its 40th anniversary meeting on 20 April 2018 that he is passing this particular baton to his successor, António Campinos and it is up to the new president whether to take it forward. The proposed launch date is postponed and a revised paper is expected later this year.
Summary of the proposed scheme
- Accordingly, there need be no change to the Rules
Other IP5 offices already permit applicants to influence start of examination
Reasons given for the new scheme (“user feedback”)
Applicants may have an interest in postponing the prosecution of their application to align with external factors:
Increase prosecution efficiency for both applicants and the EPO