Implementation of the America Invents Act --the most significant overhaul to U.S. patent law in more than a century--beyond our borders is an essential response to an evolving intellectual property terrain impacting our global economy. It is a terrain being shaped by cross-disciplinary technologies—from computers to mobile phones to life-saving drugs—that are a growing part of everyday life. And that terrain continues to be shaped by our key trading partners around the world, including China.
These efforts are important in keeping the momentum toward meeting President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI) goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014, which will support millions of good-paying U.S. jobs. Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos  recently met with China’s leading IP stakeholders, providing an overview of the significant changes to the U.S. patent system resulting from the agency’s ongoing implementation of the 2011 America Invents Act. He outlined the progress the USPTO is making in its implementation; the need for further harmonization of the world’s patent laws; and the benefits of a worksharing process that enables patent applicants to simultaneously pursue patent protection in multiple countries, known as the Patent Prosecution Highway, or PPH 2.0.
With an increasing emphasis on innovation in the U.S. and China, Kappos noted the importance of harmonizing our patent processes and advancing our worksharing initiatives—not just to ensure the smooth and efficient operation of our respective IP systems, but also to cultivate and commercialize new technologies blooming in the labs of both countries.
Under Secretary Kappos also participated in the Federal Circuit Bar Association’s China IP Adjudication Conference at Renmin University in Beijing as part of USPTO’s ongoing effort to coordinate IP policy efforts – from patent examining administrative processes to the judicial terrain – and to support trade agreements that will open up markets to U.S. companies, while working to aggressively investigate unfair trade practices taking place anywhere in the world.
The USPTO has made progress in patent sharing with China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO). Moreover, bilateral relationships through PPH offer China and the U.S. an important forum to iron out best practices between our country’s patent systems, on an administrative level. We must continue to engage with our trading partners in developing constructive, cooperative solutions, while ensuring IP systems adhere to rule of law, transparency, and the free flow of information.
Undoubtedly, this is an era during which innovation--and the protections our patent authorities provide for that innovation--will write the next chapter of global growth.