Adoption of the Industrial Designs Protocol is undoubtedly EAPO's greatest accomplishment of 2019 in the sphere of normative policy. The Industrial Designs Protocol was adopted by the Contracting States to the Eurasian Patent Convention (EAPC) at the Diplomatic Conference in Nur-Sultan, Republic of Kazakhstan, on September 9, 2019.
The Industrial Designs Protocol complements the EAPC, expands the mandate of EAPO and creates an EAPO-based regional system of legal protection of industrial designs. Following the approaches outlined in the EAPC, the Protocol contains only the fundamental substantive and procedural rules of law providing protection to the outward appearance of goods on the territory of the Contracting States on the basis of a single Eurasian patent. The document stipulates, in particular, that the Eurasian patent shall be granted pursuant to a decision taken by EAPO based on the results of the examination of the Eurasian application (preliminary examination and substantive examination). The patent shall be valid for five years from the filing date of the respective application and it shall be possible to further extend the validity term for consecutive periods of five years. However, the total term of validity of a Eurasian design patent shall not exceed twenty-five years. Further specification of rules of the Protocol are to be defined in the EAPC Patent Regulations and EAPO regulatory framework upon the Protocol's entry into force.
The EAPO Administrative Council approved the Provisions on Long-Term Internship for the examiners from the national IP offices of the EAPC Contracting States for the purpose of capacity building. The Provisions provide for a possibility for internship at EAPO for the examiners from national IP offices of the EAPC Contracting States with the duration of one to three months. As a rule, such internships shall be focused on the examination of inventions in the field of chemistry and medicine, as well as mechanics, physics and electrical engineering.
The EAPO legal reform in 2019 was carried out in various directions, particularly, those that were due to the priority tasks set for EAPO.
In particular, one of such tasks concerned the introduction at EAPO the technology of instant publication of Eurasian patents for inventions, as well as of patent applications. For the said purpose, EAPO adopted the Order No. 13 of March 19, 2019, approving the Procedure for preparation and issuance of EAPO official publications, and the EAPO Order No. 57 of October 21, 2019 approved the Procedure for the Maintenance of the Register of Eurasian Patents. EAPO normative legal acts previously in force in this area were accordingly recognized as invalid.
Order No. 64 of November 29, 2019, reduced the deadline allowed for accelerated publication and grant of Eurasian patent for invention from three months to fourteen working days in line with the transition to instant publication of Eurasian patents for inventions. The mentioned deadlines were initially determined in the Terms of Granting Services of Fast-Track Examination of Eurasian Applications, Fast-Track Publication and Fast-Track Grant of Eurasian Patents, as well as Fast-Track Procedures approved by EAPO Order No. 45 of May 31, 2016.
Improvement of the EAPO quality management system with regard to patent search and examination was an equally important task. In order to achieve this goal, EAPO President approved the Quality Management Policy on January 14, 2019. EAPO’s aspiration to maintain reliability and efficiency of the established system of legal protection of inventions on the territory of the EAPC Contracting States manifested fully in the document. The Policy reflects the basic principles of EAPO activities in the field of quality management and the corresponding goals pursued by EAPO in this field.
The EAPO legal framework also saw other amendments and addenda, in particular, in the fields of document workflow, contract administration and social protection of personnel.