Dear Colleagues and Friends,
We can rightly refer to the year of 2019 as a breakthrough year that paved a way for EAPO to cover new IP rights, new opportunities and a new level of quality.
The reporting year is indeed an important landmark. It marked the history of the Organization as the adoption year of the Protocol on the Protection of Industrial Designs to the Eurasian Patent Convention, on September 9, 2019, at the Diplomatic Conference in Nur-Sultan, the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Adopted exactly twenty-five years after the signing of the Eurasian Patent Convention, this instrument inaugurated a new era for EAPO, laid the foundation of a regional system of legal protection of industrial designs and made it possible for the first Eurasian design patent to be issued in the near future.
The decision taken by the EAPO Administrative Council in September 2019 to seek the status of the International Searching Authority and the International Preliminary Examining Authority under the Patent Cooperation Treaty is an equally important step in the context of current trends for the development of the Eurasian region. Obtaining the said status would enable the applicants from the Eurasian Patent Convention Contracting States to file a request with EAPO for international search and international preliminary examination with regard to the filed international patent applications.
The year of 2019 saw implementation of another big project aimed at creating a favorable procedural environment for applicants. EAPO adopted the instant publication of Eurasian patents in line with the global trend towards automation of workflow processes. EAPO also continued its reasonable endeavors to reduce the time required for examination of Eurasian applications for inventions. As compared to 2018, the pendency period between the satisfaction of the request for substantive examination and the date of the first action is reduced by an average of 28 days.
We are proud to note that the general decline in global and regional patent activities did not have any negative effect on EAPO's stable performance. The respective number of Eurasian patent applications for inventions filed with EAPO is almost identical to the number of Eurasian applications received in 2018. This result demonstrates the applicants' trust in the Eurasian patent system and confirms its efficiency. Incidentally, we can note an increase in the active involvement of applicants from the EAPC Contracting States, whose filings were up 9 per cent over 2018.
Just like in the previous years, the largest number of Eurasian applications in 2019 were filed by the applicants from the United States of America (26.2 per cent of all applications submitted to EAPO). Applicants from the US also were granted the largest number of Eurasian patents (19.76 per cent).
In addition to the above, we must note that the electronic communication between EAPO and both, applicants and patent holders intensified greatly. The number of electronic Eurasian applications also increased in 2019 reaching 83 per cent of the total number of applications filed.
When it comes to the EAPC Contracting States, the leading countries in terms of the Eurasian applications filed and Eurasian patents granted traditionally remained the Russian Federation, the Republic of Belarus and the Republic of Kazakhstan. At the same time, a considerable increase in applications from the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2019 also merits an honorable mention.
EAPO continued its international cooperation activities in 2019 as a matter of high priority, interacting actively with the World Intellectual Property Organization, regional IP organizations and national IP offices of both, the EAPC Contracting States and other countries, primarily of the Asian region. EAPO signed a number of Memoranda of Understanding with the World Intellectual Property Organization, the Intellectual Property Office of the European Union, the African Intellectual Property Organization on various issues of bilateral cooperation. EAPO representatives participated in more than 140 international events, thus demonstrating the high demand for the Eurasian patent system and the broad interest of the international community.
In conclusion, I would like to once again express deep gratitude to our main partner organizations, in particular, to all the national IP offices of the EAPC Contracting States for supporting EAPO’s initiatives, as well as to the EAPO wonderful team for having successfully met the goals and challenges of 2019.