July 23, 2020

World's five largest intellectual property offices agree to strengthen co-operation to enhance the role of IP in tackling global challenges

Meeting via video conference today for the first time, the heads of the world’s five largest intellectual property offices, known as the IP5, agreed to continue to strengthen their co-operation in the area of intellectual property (IP), including tackling challenges posed by COVID-19, to provide better services for users and the public. The annual meeting, originally due to take place in June in Chengdu, China, was postponed due to the pandemic.

The five heads of office reaffirmed the importance of IP protection to support the research, innovation and creation now urgently needed across a broad range of industries to tackle the pandemic. They emphasized that, especially in times of crisis, IP plays a key role in boosting economic recovery and creating jobs.

The meeting was chaired by Dr. Shen Changyu, Commissioner of the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA), and attended by Mr. António Campinos, President of the European Patent Office (EPO), Mr. Kasutani Toshihide, Commissioner of the Japan Patent Office (JPO), Dr. Park Wonjoo, Commissioner of the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) and Mr. Andrei Iancu, Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Dr. Francis Gurry, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), attended as an observer. The IP5 together handle around 85 percent of the world’s patent applications.

During the meeting, the IP5 heads of office discussed the strategic responses by their respective office to the COVID-19 pandemic. The five offices have implemented a range of measures to soften the impact of the pandemic on applicants, and to promote innovation that will contribute to the mitigation and resolution of the crisis. They stressed that they would continue to spur and incentive innovation, so as to support innovators and the international IP community.

The heads of office also highlighted the swift actions taken by the five offices to maintain IP5 business continuity and cooperation momentum, which demonstrates the resilience, responsiveness and continuous improvement of the IP5 framework. They took stock of recent progress in advancing cooperation in the areas of new emerging technologies and artificial intelligence; enhancing harmonization of practices and procedures; strengthening work-sharing efforts; improving the quality and efficiency of examination, and further enhancing access to patent information. They agreed to continue work on IP5 initiatives in these key areas.

The five heads of office also reaffirmed the importance of stakeholder engagement in IP5 cooperation, and welcomed efforts made by industry to provide their feedback. The IP5 offices have maintained close communication with IP5 industry associations in the five countries/regions to keep them informed about measures in response to COVID-19 and progress on IP5 projects. Industry representatives held a number of virtual meetings in May to collect input and guidance for current and future IP5 initiatives. During their meetings, IP5 industry representatives commended the five offices for the measures they have put in place to ensure business continuity and mitigate the effects of the pandemic on businesses. They also expressed their expectation that the offices would continue to strengthen their cooperation with a view to providing high-quality, efficient and user-friendly services to industry.

The next IP5 heads of office meeting will be hosted by the JPO in 2021.

Joint Statement of the IP5 offices
Covid-19 measures at the IP5 offices
IP5 co-operation

2020 Joint Statement of the IP5 Offices.pdf

Press Release of the 13th IP5 Heads of Office Meeting.pdf