Danish Patent and Trademark Office (DKPTO) has taken a leadership role in the international negotiations on substantive patent law harmonization.
Ms Anne Rejnhold Jorgensen, Director of our Policy and Legal Affairs Department, is leading the discussions as Chair of the so-called "B+ Working Group". The group consists of the European Union and the European Patent Organization, all member states to these organizations as well as Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and the US. In all, there are over 35 countries and intergovernmental organizations involved in the discussions.
International patent law harmonization talks began in 1985, when certain European countries decided to discuss whether to adopt a "grace period" for filing patent applications. This would allow inventors, especially small and medium sized companies, to obtain patent rights even if they inadvertently disclosed their technology innovations before filing a patent application. The talks continued under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva and encompassed a broad range of issues in addition to the grace period, including first-to-file, publication of applications, definition of prior art, prior user rights, and other critical issues.
On 16 September 2011 the US president Obama signed a new “Inventors Act” into law thereby introducing a shift from a first-to-invent-system into a first-to-file-system thus making a substantial progress toward global patent law harmonization.
This change among other items discussed has made a significant contribution to the ongoing work in the B+ group on substantial patent law harmonization.
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