Ratification of the Visegrad Patent Institute - a Symbolic Completion of the SR Presidency of the Visegrad Group
On 30 June this year the National Council of the Slovak Republic gave its consent to the Agreement on the Visegrad Patent Institute and decided that it is an international treaty, which takes precedence over national laws by virtue of the Constitution of the Slovak Republic. After the introduction by the newly appointed Minister of Economy Vazil Hudák, the Agreement on the Visegrad Patent Institute received broad support across the whole political spectrum.
The Agreement on the Visegrad Patent Institute was signed in Bratislava on 26 February by Mr Ľuboš Knoth, President of the Industrial Property Office of the Slovak Republic , Mr Josef Kratochvíl, President of the Industrial Property Office of the Czech Republic, Mr Miklós Bendzsel, President of the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office, and Mrs Alicja Adamczak, President of the Patent Office of the Republic of Poland. This happened with the participation of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Miroslav Lajčák and representatives of several embassies.
Quadripartite Agreement on the Visegrad Patent Institute is a significant result of cooperation between national patent and trade mark offices of the Visegrad Group countries (V4). It involves encouraging innovation and creativity, economic growth and competitiveness in the region of Central and Eastern Europe. Applicants from the V4 countries will find it easier and cheaper to protect their innovations; it is assumed that the fees relating to the international patent application will be decreased.
The VPI will act as the International Searching Authority (ISA) and International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)1,2, which is essential in obtaining international protection for inventions. Currently only 18 bodies of this type function in the world, out of which there are only 6 in Europe. Inclusion into this elite club enables the Visegrad Patent Institute – and thus also the Industrial Property Office of the Slovak Republic - to provide patent services of the highest quality. It is a significant international commitment of the Slovak Republic and the other V4 countries that can be a positive impetus to a long-term development of the Industrial Property Office itself as well as the other V4 participating patent and trade mark offices.
The VPI will use existing capacities of national patent offices appropriately. For applicants from the V4 countries, namely Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary, it will provide search reports and preliminary opinions on the possibility to obtain a patent for their invention.
Communication in native languages of applicants will be their big advantage. It is expected to reduce costs associated with fees for PCT applications by 25 % for businesses and 37 % for individuals, which should contribute to an increase of the number of international patent applications from the V4 countries. Small and medium-sized enterprises, universities, research organizations and other users of the patent system will be offered a favourable and efficient option to obtain a patent protection internationally. This will facilitate easier access to the system established under the Patent Cooperation Treaty.
By the ratification of the Agreement on the Visegrad Patent Institute the program of the Slovak Presidency of the Visegrad Group (July 2014 - June 2015) in the field of industrial property was fulfilled3. After Hungary, which ratified the Agreement on the Visegrad Patent Institute on 27 May 2015, the Slovak Republic is the second contracting state having finished the ratification process. It contributed to the implementation of the Joint Statement4 of the Heads of Governments of the V4 Countries of 19 June 2015, under which the ratification should be completed before the appointment of the Visegrad Patent Institute as the international authority by the Assembly of the International Patent Cooperation Union within the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which is expected in October 20155. Consequently the Visegrad Patent Institute could start providing its services to the public since July 2016.
1 Patent Cooperation Treaty plays a key role in obtaining patent protection abroad, especially if such protection is required simultaneously in several countries. A single international patent application rather than multiple individual national or regional patent applications ensures the priority right and the opportunity to apply for patent protection in all 148 PCT Contracting States.
2 See Agreements of WIPO on ISA and IPEA http://www.wipo.int/pct/en/access/isa_ipea_agreements.html.
3 See Program of the SR Presidency „Dynamic Visegrad", part 3.2.1
4 See http://www.visegradgroup.eu/calendar/2015/joint-statement-of-the
5 See http://www.wipo.int/about-wipo/en/assemblies/2015/a_55/