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Streamlined Electronic System Benefits Patent Applicants in US and Much of EU

Both the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the European Patent Office have initiated new protocols and systems that will allow priority patent application documents to be electronically exchanged between these two ages.  The effort will have a beneficial impact on individuals and companies interested in making patent application through both systems. 

Pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, an applicant for a patent can file an application in any one of the countries that are parties to this Convention.  Within twelve months the same applicant can then make a filing with the other participating nations, enjoying the benefits of the initial filing dates.

In the past, applicants had to file paper applications of the priority document with each of these subsequent countries at their own expense.  Under the new system, the USPTO and the EPO can obtain electronic copies of these priority documents filed with the initial office from within the electronic records management system.  This will result in a much streamlined process, reduction of paperwork and an overall lowering of expenses incurred by applicants.  The system is expected to be fully implemented by January 2007.

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