Joint Prior Art Search Program

• Outline

The joint prior art search program applies to common patent applications lodged in two countries. Participating offices analyze the results of examinations and prior art searches, compare examination practices, and share examination know-how. Examiners also visit the offices of participating countries to experience other examination systems and practices, to improve their understanding of the patent systems of other countries, and to benchmark the strengths of those systems.

• Background

The program aims to improve the examination quality of participating offices and build a foundation for the collaborative use of examination results in the future.

※ Korea has already implemented a series of joint prior art search programs with Japan, China, Germany, the US, and the UK.

Agreements on the joint prior art search program were signed at the 11th heads meeting with the Japan Patent Office in November 1999, a heads meeting with the State Intellectual Property Office of the People's Republic of China in April 2002, the fourth heads meeting with the German Patent and Trademark Office in April 2006, a high-level meeting with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in June 2008, and a high-level meeting with the UK Intellectual Property Office in June 2009.

• Status of the joint prior art search program

Status of the joint prior art search program
2000 H01J (PDP) - - - - -
2001 C07C (Organic compounds) - - - - -
2002 H01L (Semiconductors) - - - - -
2003 B60L, F02D (Hybrid vehicles) A61K (Medicine) - - - -
2004 G06F (E-Commerce) H01M (Secondary batteries) H04B (Wireless communication) - - - -
2005 A61F (Medical service/Hygiene) H01L 33 (Semiconductors, optical components) B23B (Machine tools) C08L, C08G (Polymer compounds) G02F (LCD) G06F (E-commerce) B23B (Machine tools) C08L, C08G (Polymer compounds) G02F (LCD) G06F (E-commerce) - - - -
2006 B25J (Robotics) H01L (Semiconductors) F24C (Heating, cooking utensils) B60R (Automobile parts) H01R (Electric connection devices) H01L (Semiconductors, optical components) G06F (Computer) G09G (LCD) - - -
2007 H04N (Broadcast recording/airing) E04C (Construction materials) Korea-China evaluation meeting of the joint prior art search program G02F (Display) H01L (Semiconductor packaging) - - -
2008 D06F (Washing machines) A61K (Medical supplies) F25B (Air-conditioners) H04M (Electric communication technology) F01M (Motors) C08G (Chemical materials) - - -
2009 G09G3/36 (LCD operation) H02K (Generators) H01M8 (Fuel cells) H01L (Semiconductors) A61N (Medical appliances) F25D 23 (Refrigerators) C12Q 1 (Enzymes) H01L (LED) H04B (Wireless) C09D (Polymer compounds) H04L (Encryption of digital information) H01M (Fuel cells) H01L (Semi-conductors) -
2010 H05B 33 (Electric luminous sources) G06F 3 (Computer interfaces) - - - - -

• Major contents

- The examiners of the participating countries jointly conduct patent examinations of applications commonly filed in each country.

- The results of the examinations are compared and discussed.

- The examiners who participate in the program visit the patent offices of other countries to experience other examination systems and practices.

• Procedures

1) Selection of the subject of a joint examination.

※ The subject of a joint examination is selected from a list of common applications compiled by both offices and must meet the filing requirements:
√ The application must be filed in both countries.
√ The applicant must be from one of the participating countries.
√ The application must not yet be published.

2) Prior art searches and examinations

- Prior art searches under this program are conducted in the same manner as a prior art search for a general application.

· When conducting a search, examiners consider all the usual reasons for rejection, such as the unity of invention, a lack of specification in the description, and the requirements of patentability.

- The examination results are written in the format of an international search report and international preliminary examination report.

3) Discussion of results during visits of examiners

- Participating examiners compare and discuss the examination results during visits to other offices.

- Examiners have an opportunity to study the search techniques, examination methods and so on. of other offices.

Last updated 26 MARCH 2013

Patent System Administration Division