Increased collaboration between patent offices is critical in order to provide efficiency gains and to benefit users of the patent system globally.
Recognising this need, the IP5 Heads of Office at their meeting in June 2012 created the Global Dossier Task Force (GDTF) to obtain input on user needs and to help develop the Global Dossier concept, which had been proposed by the JPO and the USPTO. The GDTF comprises delegations from the IP5 Offices, WIPO and industry representatives from the IP5 regions.
In January 2013, the EPO hosted the first IP5 Global Dossier Task Force meeting, at which IP5 Industry defined their vision for retrieval of patent information and for patent prosecution at the IP5 level. Since that meeting, the IP5 have been working to move forward on providing tools which allow applicants to retrieve information about patents at an IP5 level (for example dossier content of an entire family of applications from a single source) and to develop approaches to allow simplified subsequent filing of applications at other IP5 Offices.
In 2014, the first Global Dossier public service for file wrapper viewing was delivered by the EPO with the support of CNIPA. By the end of 2015, all IP5 Offices were providing file wrapper data in a standardised format allowing the viewing of all IP5 file wrapper documents from any one IP5 Office.
Also in 2015, at the second Global Dossier Task Force meeting hosted by CNIPA, IP5 Industry presented a list of goals which they asked the IP5 Offices to include in their future deliberations of the Global Dossier.
At their meeting in May 2015, the IP5 Heads, taking up the challenge of the Global Dossier Task Force, endorsed a vision statement including five priority areas. These were further developed and during the IP5 Heads meeting hosted by the JPO in Tokyo in June 2016, agreements were reached to set the scope of the five priorities.
At the 5th GDTF meeting in January 2018, the IP5 Offices and industry confirmed the outcome achieved since the five priorities were established and specified the new direction of each project for the next couple of years based on the JPO's proposal. At the IP5 Heads meeting in June 2018, the next stage of the five priorities and the renewed scope document of each project were endorsed.
The five priorities are:
- Alerting (EPO led): delivering alerting features for file wrapper changes at IP5 patent family level via RSS feeds and e-mail
- XMLization (JPO led): promoting XML format in each office so that the document management by users and offices can be improved and automated (e.g. incoming and outgoing documents)
- Applicant name standardisation (KIPO led): establishing a global mapping table including applicants' name and address in the respective languages, in order to recommend an applicant to use a uniform applicant's name and prevent miss-spelling by applicants and attorneys
- Legal status (CNIPA led): promoting the inquiry of legal status by the public based on agreement of common categories of legal status among IP5 offices
- Inter-office document sharing (USPTO led): sharing documents between offices, such as supporting documents for other initiatives (e.g. Patent Prosecution Highway)
The focus of the IP5 Working Group 2 is now the Global Dossier however in parallel significant advances have been made in the area of patent information. In particular in 2013 the IP5 Heads signed the Patent Information Policy which, in time, should lead to a system in which the barriers to obtaining IP5 patent information are significantly lowered. This is a goal to which all IP5 Offices are committed. The IP5 continues to work towards the vision of global patent information being a general good which benefits the public and users of the system alike.