The year 2020 witnessed another important stage in the formation of the EAPO-based system of legal protection of industrial designs. Following the deposit with the Director General of WIPO of the three instruments of ratification of the Protocol on the Protection of Industrial Designs to the Eurasian Patent Convention (EAPC), adopted on September 9, 2019 in Nur-Sultan, the date of entry into force of the international treaty was set on March 17, 2021.
Six of the eight EAPC Contracting States, namely the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Armenia, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Tajikistan completed the internal procedures for the ratification of the Protocol on the Protection of Industrial Designs to the EAPC by the end of 2020. The relevant instruments of ratification of the Protocol were deposited with the WIPO Director General by the representatives of three of these states: the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia.
In terms of cooperation under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), the PCT Committee for Technical Cooperation made a recommendation on October 6, 2020, to the Assembly of the PCT Union to designate the EAPO as an International Searching and Preliminary Examining Authority.
The pilot PPH programs acquired a permanent status with the Japanese Patent Office on May 1, 2020, and with the European Patent Office on October 1, 2020.
On August 1, 2020, the PPH pilot program was launched with the Finnish Patent and Registration Office (PRH) based on a Memorandum of Understanding concluded on April 24, 2020.
During the reporting year, the 72 per cent of the total number of international events were arranged and attended by the EAPO in the remote format, including participation of EAPO representatives in conferences, seminars, educational projects organized by IP Offices of the EAPO Member States, WIPO, EPO and other partner Offices.
In 2020, the EAPO received 3,377 Eurasian patent applications.
Against the backdrop of a global decline in economic activity caused by the pandemic, the number of Eurasian applications in 2020 was relatively stable, with a year-end decline of only about 3 per cent.
Overall, the Eurasian Patent Office had 60,731 Eurasian application filings since the establishment of the Eurasian Patent Organization in 1996, through 2020.
The number of Eurasian applications filed electronically reached 89 per cent of the total number of Eurasian applications filed in 2020 (as compared to 83 per cent in 2019).
The percentage of Eurasian applications processed entirely in electronic form within the communication between the applicants and the EAPO at the examination stage has increased significantly to 80 per cent (as compared to 55 per cent in 2019).
Compared to 2019, the average period between the acceptance date of the application for substantive examination and the date of the first office action was reduced by 25 days and now amounts to 10 months.
The Eurasian Office reported the grant of 2,754 Eurasian patents in 2020, which is up 2.11 per cent over the previous year. Overall, 36,882 Eurasian patents were granted during the period 1996 through 2020.
Applicants from the EAPC Contracting States and the Republic of Moldova were granted 531 Eurasian patents in 2020, marking 19.28 per cent of the total number of patent grants throughout the year.
In 2020, applicants from the States not party to the EAPC had 2,223 Eurasian patent grants. The percentage of patents granted to applicants from those states amounted to 80.72 per cent of all the patent grants of 2020.
In 2020, the average period between the date of the decision to grant a Eurasian patent and the date of publication of information on the granting of a Eurasian patent was reduced to 57 days (as compared to 95 days in 2019).
In order to promote the Eurasian system of legal protection of inventions for foreign applicants in 2020, the English-language interface of the Eurasian Patent Information System (EAPATIS) and the user manual were significantly upgraded. A unified English-language collection of patent documentation of the EAPO and the national patent offices of the Eurasian Patent Organization Member States has been formed in EAPATIS, including the bibliographic data and abstract in English, partly processed with the use of machine translation system. EAPATIS users now also benefit from updated linking mechanisms with open registers of national patent offices.
In the reporting year the interfaces of the main information retrieval systems of the EAPO web portal - Eurasian Publication Server and Eurasian Patent Register - were translated into English. The English language web resources of the EAPO were presented at the EPO conference "East meets West 2020".
In 2020, the EAPO initiated work aimed at practical use of artificial intelligence (AI) tools and technologies in internal operations and analyzed the prospects for the use of AI tools and technologies to determine the future activity. In particular, the quality of search for similar documents using AI and applicability of AI for preliminary patent search and classification of Eurasian applications were assessed. The first practical outcome of these activities was the launch of an automated pre-classification tool in the International Patent Classification (IPC) based on the full text of Eurasian application.
The EAPO's fault-tolerant information infrastructure, built over the past few years on the basis of the most modern international standards in information technology, ensured the full continuity of EAPO activities in the emergency situations of 2020, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.