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USA, EU, Japan Patent Offices Vow To Improve Work Sharing

Leaders of the patent offices in the United States, European Union, and Japan agreed to speed the process of examination of patent applications by better sharing materials on common filings. The three organizations met this week at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia for their 28th annual conference.

The three offices will start a pilot program for the USPTO’s First Look Application Sharing (FLASH) initiative. FLASH aims to provide more USPTO search and examination results faster to the European and Japanese offices when the USPTO was the office where the first application was filed.

The organizations agreed as well to continue development of a Common Citation Document (CCD) to enable examiners and patent information users to see, in a single document, the prior art cited by each office for each patent family member.  A first public release of CCD is targeted for November 2011.

The three offices also agreed to expand their current common processes under the Patent Cooperation Treaty and Patent Prosecution Highway to their counterpart patent offices in Korea and China.

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