Dear Colleagues and Friends,
The year 2020 was a year of challenges for everyone due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And we can safely say we coped, as the EAPO operated without interruption while ensuring the effective functioning of the Eurasian patent system. This year made us take a fresh look at the usual routine, assess our capabilities and, where necessary, improve the approaches to administering our work.
We are grateful to the Member States of the Eurasian Patent Organization for promoting regional integration in the field of legal protection of industrial designs and their efforts to ratify the Protocol on the Protection of Industrial Designs to the Eurasian Patent Convention. Six of the eight Organization’s Member States have completed the domestic procedures for ratification of the said international treaty in the reporting year, and five of them have already deposited their instruments of ratification with the Protocol's depositary, the Director General of WIPO.
The EAPO continued to pursue the goal of obtaining the status of the International Searching Authority and the International Preliminary Examining Authority under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) in 2020. It was a continuation of an endeavor of more than twenty-five years. The capacity of the Office to act as an International Authority under the PCT was provided by Article 20 of the Eurasian Patent Convention since the very beginning of the Eurasian patent system. Our team overcame the difficulties caused by the pandemic and is proud to announce that the PCT Committee for Technical Cooperation issued a recommendation to the PCT Union Assembly on October 6, 2020 to appoint the EAPO as an International Searching and Preliminary Examining Authority. The EAPO has received positive opinions regarding its appointment from a number of major IP Offices around the world.
The year 2020 made it clear that the EAPO was on the right track with its earlier decision on the transition of the Office to the technology of instant publication of Eurasian applications and Eurasian patents, as well as on further balanced reducing the examination time for Eurasian patent applications. Compared to 2019, the time between the granting of substantive examination request and the date of the first office action has been reduced by about 25 days, and now amounts to 10 months on average. At the same time, the period between the decision to grant a Eurasian patent and the date of publication of information on the grant of a Eurasian patent decreased by an average of 38 days. Furthermore, in terms of filing activity, the year 2020 was fairly stable for the Eurasian patent system, despite the unprecedented decline in economic activity around the world. The number of Eurasian applications filed with the EAPO in the reporting year decreased by only about 3 per cent as compared to the number of Eurasian applications filed in 2019, while the number of granted Eurasian patents increased by 2.11 per cent.
Similarly to previous years, applicants from the United States of America filed the largest number of Eurasian applications in 2020. In the Eurasian region, applicants from the Russian Federation, the Republic of Belarus and the Republic of Kazakhstan were the leaders with regard to the number of Eurasian applications filed.
The year of 2020 saw better results than just maintaining the rate of electronic interaction between the EAPO and applicants and patent holders, as was the trend for recent years. In fact, new records were made in this regard. The number of Eurasian applications filed electronically increased in 2020 rising up to 89 per cent of the total number of filed applications in the reporting year. At the same time, the percentage of Eurasian applications in respect of which the interaction with the applicants at the examination stage was carried out fully in electronic form reached 80 per cent (as compared to 55 per cent in 2019).
Still considering the development of international cooperation to be of utmost importance, in 2020 the EAPO continued to actively cooperate with WIPO, regional IP Offices and national Offices of the EAPO Member States and other countries. The EAPO representatives participated in more than 92 international events, including 66 held in the remote format.
In conclusion, in these difficult times I would like to wish everyone good health, immunity to all viruses, the soonest return of our lives back to normal, more vivid emotions of live communications, because we all must go on with our lives.