I joked during the recent Northeast Meeting (more on that in a subsequent post) that I received a call from the USPTO a few weeks ago and the person on the other end asked if I would be willing to take a call from Director Kappos. I deadpanned with fellow PIUG members that if Director Kappos would like to speak with me I should probably take his call. What I told Director Kappos' assistant was that I would be happy to speak with him and we scheduled a time when we could talk with one another.
It turns out Director Kappos wanted our help. USPTO and EPO were working together on a Directive where the two organizations would develop a joint patent classification system. Both organizations would use the joint classification and it would form the basis for a system that could be used by all members of the IP5 and hopefully all of the patent offices of the world. After we talked about the Directive he asked me what I thought our members would think about such a system. I told him that I would speak with some of our members but believed that this announcement would be met with excitement. Since this was the case he asked if PIUG would be willing to write a letter of endorsement for the Directive and if I could speak with our colleagues in Europe about joining us for the endorsement and sending the letter to the President of the EPO as well.
Time was of the essence so after speaking to a few members privately during the Patent Searching Fundamentals course (more on that in a later post as well) I reached out to Aalt van de Kuilen, the Chair of CEPIUG and asked if he would be willing to work on a letter with me. Aalt was happy to do so and he and I put the letter together, signed it and send it along to the USPTO and EPO. A copy of the letter is attached to this post for anyone who is interested in reading it. The announcement from the USPTO is below:
Soon afterwards USPTO send out a press release on the Directive and in the press pack they sent around they included a copy of the endorsement letter that Aalt and I put together. Well, let me tell you that the subsequent response was tremendous and a real boon for PIUG. The IPWatchdog blog reproduced the press release and our letter in their entirety shortly after the release went out:
This was followed by a reproduction of the letter on the IAM Editor's Blog (the URL is below but you need to register for free to the blog in order to get access):
A little later on I was approached by our friend Professor Dennis Crouch who asked if I would mind writing a guest post on the Directive for Patently-O which I was happy to do:
Finally, I received an email from an Editor at Chemical and Engineering news who saw the Patently-O post and wondered if he could use a quote for a short write up in the Government Concentrates section in the November 1st edition of C&EN. The copy from that is provided below for those of you who aren't ACS members:
U.S., Europe Will Collaborate On Patent System
The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and the European Patent Office have agreed to jointly develop a patent classification system based on the European model. Unifying the systems under which patents are filed will help eliminate unnecessary duplication of work between the two offices and promote more efficient, higher quality patent examinations than is currently possible. Most major patent classification systems, including the one used in Europe, are based on the International Patent Classification (IPC) system, which is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization. However, the U.S. patent system predates the IPC structure. In addition to aligning the U.S. and European systems with the IPC, a goal of the partnership is to establish a more detailed classification system to improve patent searching, the offices say. A single classification system will allow patent searchers to find relevant patents from around the world more easily and to compare the technical content of these documents more efficiently because they will be working from a common framework, says Anthony Trippe, chair of the Patent Information Users Group, an international organization for patent professionals.
Chemical & Engineering News
Copyright © 2010 American Chemical Society
I also received thank you notes from Marti Hearst, Director Kappos and the Head of Corporate Communications at the USPTO for the letter and the support our organization provided for the Directive.
This was a wonderful example of how PIUG can play a leadership role in the world of patent information, work with the world's largest patent offices and collaborate with our sister organizations around the world to represent the worldwide community of patent information professionals. The Directive is a ground breaking historic agreement and will likely be an event we will look back on on the years to come as a seminal event in the history of patent information. PIUG was a party to this history in the making and we should all be proud of the role we were asked to play in this event.
Thanks for your time,