Austrian-Hungarian PCT cooperation
In April 2008 the Austrian Patent Office (Österreichisches Patentamt, ÖPA) and the Hungarian Patent Office (HPO) decided to extend their longstanding successful bilateral cooperation to works to be done under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) as well. The core of the cooperation is that the ÖPA will outsource international search and international preliminary examination to the HPO, while the HPO, as subcontractor to the ÖPA, in accordance with the Regulations under the PCT, will establish international search reports and international preliminary examination reports.
The cooperation, under the international legal provisions in effect, will be an internal arrangement for work organisation at the ÖPA, as an International Searching and Preliminary Examining Authority (ISA/IPEA), in order to enhance efficiency. Therefore, it qualifies as an internal issue, which is not bound by the approval of the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization or the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation. It is exclusively based on the free will of the two national offices, and fully fits with the European Patent Network established in the European Patent Organisation, as it serves a more efficient exploitation of the existing capacities and the development of the national competencies.
Although the cooperation is not bound by any prior or subsequent approval, it was still justified to notify of it the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization and the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation.
The ÖPA as ISA/IPEA has notified the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization. In this context, information has been given about the fact that the range of languages accepted by the ÖPA extends with the involvement of the HPO, that is, the Austrian office will be capable of receiving not only English, German and French language international applications but also Hungarian and Russian language ones.
Together the ÖPA and the HPO informed the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation of the content of the cooperation, which was positively welcomed at the last session of the Administrative Council in June 2008. The delegations were pleased about the initiative and it was generally agreed that the cooperation fully fitted with the idea of the European Patent Network, and respected the relevant international legislation in effect.
On 10 September 2008 the Presidents of ÖPA and HPO formally signed the agreement defining the PCT cooperation between the two offices.