AIPLA/FICPI Joint Colloquium on Application Quality

September 20, 2012
W. Todd Baker
American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) and the International Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys (FICPI)
Warsaw, Poland
W. Todd Baker of Oblon Spivak is an invited speaker at the above event. 

Patent quality has become an overarching concern for patent offices, patent owners and third parties alike, as demonstrated by the prominence of quality issues in almost every recent article about patents. Patent offices are concerned about the quality of the applications they receive and the quality of the patents they issue. Academics have reported a trend toward patent applications that are exceedingly lengthy without a clear explanation of the perceived invention.  As backlogs of pending applications have grown while governments have been under pressure to control budgets, patent offices have been searching for ways to share the workload using initiatives such as the PPH.  However, the lack of a true standard format and differing views by the offices on what a quality application should contain have hampered such programs.

Individual offices, as well as the Trilateral and IP5, have attempted to provide guidance to applicants, including a common application format.  However, what an applicant puts into a patent application is governed by the perception of how a patent office will view the application during examination.  All too often the perception by a patent office of what they want is inconsistent with what applicants believe they need to file to obtain appropriate protection for their inventions.

FICPI and AIPLA believe that a candid discussion by the entire patent community of these and related issues is urgently needed.  They have therefore decided to organise the colloquium to encourage all interested parties – applicants, patentees, patent officials and judges – to share their insights into the problems and to open them to discussion and debate.