A brief look at what is making news at the National and Regional Intellectual Property Offices around the world as at 23 May 2012:
> The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced the start of the Quick Path Information Disclosure Statement (QPIDS) pilot program as part of its on-going efforts towards compact prosecution and pendency reduction. The program reduces the number of Requests for Continued Examination (RCEs) filed for consideration of an IDS after the issue fee is paid. Further information. Where an Examiner deems that the information in the IDS is not sufficient to warrant reopening the prosecution, the application will be returned to issue, thus short-cutting the RCE practice with resulting savings in time and cost. Further information is available from the USPTO.
> China has progressed its anti-counterfeiting measures, with the General Office of the State Council releasing a work agenda concerning the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), especially targeting the production and sale of counterfeit goods. The agenda details new campaigns to ensure protection for trademark rights, copyrights, patent rights and online shopping sites, as well as efforts to fight the counterfeiting of cosmetics, medicine, agricultural production materials and vehicle components. Refer to SIPO for further information.
> The Japanese Patent Office has issued an update of the number of applications and registrations for 2011. The number of new patent and trademark applications filed has been relatively steady at 342,610 and 108,060, respectively. Though numbers are still down on the highs of 2006-2007. The full statistics are available from the JPO.
> The EPO and Russia have signed a joint agreement on machine translation of patents. Under the Agreement, Rospatent and the EPO will exchange full-text versions of patent documents in Russian and English to create bilingual text corpora for use in the free Patent Translate service on the EPO’s website. It is hoped that agreement will promote innovation by facilitating the filing of patent applications by Russian companies in the rest of Europe and by European companies in Russia. Further information is available from the EPO.
> Argentina has toughened its stance on the patentability of new pharmaceuticals. The Argentine Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) in a joint Resolution with the Ministries of Industry and Public Health (Res. No. 118/12, 546/12 and 107/12) has released new guidelines in respect of pharmaceutical substances, specifically pharmaceutical compounds such as salts, polimphors, enantiomers and others will no longer be patentable. The guidelines were published in Argentina’s Official Bulletin on 8 May 2012 which can be accessed here.
> The viability of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) signed in Tokyo late last year by Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and the United States is now being questioned by the European Commission. Specifically, the European Commission is examining whether the Agreement is compatible with other treaties and laws applicable to the EU and its member states. Further information is available here.
> The Philippines have become the latest country to ratify the Madrid Protocol. The Protocol will come into effect on 25 July 2012. Refer to WIPO for further information.
> France has recently ratified the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV Convention). The Convention will come into effect on 27 May 2012. Refer to WIPO for further information.