[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 181 (Thursday, September 18, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 56070-56071]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-22222]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

United States Patent and Trademark Office

[Docket No. PTO-P-2014-0046]


Notice on Roundtable on International Harmonization of 
Substantive Patent Law

AGENCY: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of roundtable.

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SUMMARY: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is 
seeking input on certain matters relating to the international 
harmonization of substantive patent law. In view of the importance of 
harmonization of substantive patent law to the successful reutilization 
of the examination work of one intellectual property office by another, 
or work sharing, the USPTO is particularly interested in stakeholder 
comments on the following key patent examination-related issues: The 
definition and scope of prior art; the grace period; and standards for 
assessing novelty and obviousness/inventive step. To assist in 
gathering this information, the USPTO is holding a public roundtable 
which interested members of the public are invited to attend.

DATES: The roundtable will be held on November 19, 2014. The roundtable 
will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 12:00 p.m.

ADDRESSES: The roundtable will be held at the United States Patent and 
Trademark Office, Madison Building, 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, 
Virginia 22314.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information regarding the 
roundtable, please contact Summer

[[Page 56071]]

Kostelnik or Elizabeth Shaw at the Office of Policy and International 
Affairs, by telephone at (571) 272-9300, by email at 
[email protected], or by postal mail addressed to: Mail Stop OPIA, 
United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, 
VA 22313-1450, ATTN: Summer Kostelnik or Elizabeth Shaw. Please direct 
all media inquiries to the Office of the Chief Communications Officer, 
USPTO, at (571) 272-8400.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

1. Background

    The United States has participated in several international efforts 
to harmonize substantive patent law across different jurisdictions. The 
most recent discussions toward this end have been conducted under the 
auspices of the ``Tegernsee Group,'' which is comprised of the leaders 
and patent law experts from the patent offices of Denmark, France, 
Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as 
from the European Patent Office. The Group was formed in 2011 to 
consider the state of patent law harmonization and to facilitate 
progress toward greater harmonization by means of fact finding and 
information gathering. The Group published a Final Report in June 2014, 
consolidating stakeholder views on key issues across various 
jurisdictions. The Final Report, entitled ``Consolidated Report on the 
Tegernsee User Consultation on Substantive Patent Law Harmonization,'' 
is available for review at http://www.uspto.gov/ip/global/patents/tegernsee_survey/teg-final_consol_report_june_2014.pdf. The 
Tegernsee Group is currently on hiatus pending further developments.
    In parallel with the Tegernsee Group discussions and earlier 
efforts focused on substantive harmonization, the USPTO has also been 
engaged with other patent offices on several work sharing initiatives, 
such as the Patent Prosecution Highway. Work sharing allows one office 
to leverage work done by another office on a corresponding application 
in order to improve quality and reduce duplicative search and 
examination efforts. Substantive harmonization can enhance the 
effectiveness of work sharing by better aligning the patentability 
standards of the various offices, thereby making it easier for those 
offices to use one another's work.

2. Issues for Public Comment

    Past studies and experiences indicate that the areas of substantive 
law that are most relevant for work-sharing purposes are those related 
to the search and application of prior art. That is because prior art 
is determinative of patentability in most cases, and because prior art 
searching is a critical aspect of the examination process. Accordingly, 
the USPTO is particularly interested in stakeholder views on the 
following key patent examination-related issues: The definition and 
scope of prior art; the grace period; and standards for assessing 
novelty and obviousness/inventive step.
    The roundtable will begin with an introduction on the current state 
of play of substantive harmonization efforts including an update on the 
work of the Tegernsee Group. The roundtable will continue with a panel 
discussion consisting of two sessions. The first session will include a 
discussion on the substantive harmonization issues most suitable for 
further progress, with a particular focus on those key patent 
examination-related issues: Definition of prior art; prior art effect 
of published applications; prior art not affecting patentability (grace 
period), and conditions for patentability--novelty and obviousness/
inventive step. During the second session, the USPTO is interested in 
hearing stakeholder views as to how to best advance substantive patent 
law harmonization discussions.
    Time will be reserved at the end of each session for interested 
members of the public to comment upon the topics discussed. Individuals 
interested in serving as a panelist should submit their name, contact 
information (telephone number and email address), the name of the 
organization(s) the person represents, if any, relevant biographical 
information as it pertains to the topic(s) to be discussed during the 
session(s), and a few brief comments on the topic(s) to 
[email protected] before October 24, 2014. Panelists will be selected 
approximately two weeks in advance of the roundtable.

Instructions and Information on the Public Roundtable

    The roundtable will be held on November 19, 2014, at the United 
States Patent and Trademark Office, Madison Building, 600 Dulany 
Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314. The roundtable will begin at 8:30 
a.m. and end at 12:00 p.m. The agenda and Web cast information will be 
available a week before the roundtable on the USPTO's Office of Policy 
and International Affairs Web site at http://www.uspto.gov/ip/officechiefecon/hearings_round_tables.jsp. Registration 
is available at http://events.SignUp4.com/Patharm. Attendees may also 
register at the door. Sign in will commence at 8:00 a.m. prior to the 
beginning of the roundtable.
    The roundtable will be physically accessible to people with 
disabilities. Individuals requiring accommodation, such as sign 
language interpretation or other ancillary aids, should communicate 
their needs to Hollis Robinson at the Office of Policy and 
International Affairs, by telephone at (571) 272-9300, by email at 
[email protected], or by postal mail addressed to: Mail Stop 
OPIA, United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, 
Alexandria, VA 22313-1450, ATTN: Hollis Robinson, at least seven (7) 
business days prior to the roundtable.

    Dated: September 12, 2014.
Michelle K. Lee,
Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy 
Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
[FR Doc. 2014-22222 Filed 9-17-14; 8:45 am]
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