The Global Dossier is a project stemming from a collaboration between the European Patent Office (EPO), the Japan Patent Office (JPO), the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China (SIPO), and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) (collectively, the IP5 Offices). As envisioned by the IP5 Office heads, the Global Dossier will exist as a set of business services accessible through an online portal that will allow for communication between users and all participating patent offices. The hope is that users – such as applicants/patent owners, examiners, and interested third parties – will eventually be able to access information about all patents in the participating offices and to use the electronic services of those offices. The overarching goal is to streamline communication among the participating offices to provide an efficient and cost-effective user environment.On June 5, 2014, the EPO and SIPO launched the first Global Dossier service that displays both European and Chinese content on families of patent applications filed in the two offices. The EPO extended coverage to include file wrapper data from the JPO and KIPO and, most recently, the USPTO. The EPO-hosted Global Dossier may be accessed through the European Patent Register by searching for a European patent application, clicking on the “patent family” link on the left-hand navigation menu, and opening the Global Dossier for each family member. Alternatively, the Global Dossier may be accessed through Espacenet by displaying the bibliographic view for an application and clicking on the Global Dossier icon. The EPO-hosted Global Dossier service currently allows for automatic machine translation of Chinese, Japanese, or Korean documents when the request is in English. Next month, the USPTO plans to release a USPTO-hosted user Global Dossier interface. It is not yet known whether this can be used to relieve an applicant’s burden in citing references to the USPTO that are already of record in the other IP5 offices.
Plans for future improvements to the service are being made. At a meeting in January 2015, the IP5 Office heads set the following short-term goals for the Global Dossier project:
- Providing timely updates on the status or file wrapper changes to all IP5 family members of a monitored application.
- Providing access to all file wrapper documents in XML format.
- Standardizing applicant names across all IP5 patent document collections.
- Establishing a standard method for sharing the legal status data for patents and applications across the IP5.
- Demonstrating the feasibility of permitting interoffice exchange of prosecution documents.
Each participating office is working on individually implementing these goals.