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FICPI and AIPLA International Colloquium on Patent Quality

October 2007

FICPI and AIPLA jointly hosted an International Colloquium on "A Comprehensive Approach to Patent Quality" on 8-9 June 2007 in Amsterdam. Key leaders from the patent offices, the profession and user groups were invited to attend, and we are in the process of uploading onto the AIPLA website  transcripts of the discussions.

In 2001, and again in 2003, FICPI and AIPLA joined forces to host high level Colloquia for patent offices and user groups to explore problems arising from the exploding growth in the number of patent applications worldwide and its impact on the functioning of the patent system. The public increasingly perceives the pressure to reduce the backlog of pending applications to have resulted in a lower quality search and examination of patent applications, with more questionable patents issuing as a consequence. Policy makers are beginning to question whether the patent system is serving the public interest as intended.

FICPI and AIPLA believed that a candid discussion by the patent community was urgently needed to evaluate the present situation and identify steps necessary to encourage confidence in the system. The Amsterdam Colloquium provided an excellent opportunity for all interested parties - applicants, patentees, venture capitalists, and patent officials - to share their insights into these issues and to open them to discussion and debate.

"The major patent offices have been expending a great deal of effort to maintain and enhance quality without increasing the time from filing to grant. We decided it was an appropriate time to examine the changes made and contemplated as a way of assisting the patent offices as they continue their efforts," said Danny Huntington, President of FICPI.

AIPLA President Judith Saffer notes that, "Improving the quality of patents is a central focus of a multi-year effort in the United States Congress to revise our patent laws. We believe that a candid discussion of patent quality among interested stakeholders will inform this effort and help identify steps that patent offices and users can take to address the quality issue."