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Noeleen O'Hara by Noeleen O'Hara

One important feature of the European patent system is its strict novelty requirement according to which an invention must not have been made available to the public before the filing date of the patent application. By contrast, some other patent systems allow for a "grace period", i.e. a period of time before the application's filing date during which an invention may be disclosed to the public without losing its novelty so that the invention remains patentable.

The EPO aims to assess the impact of the strict novelty requirement on the filing and business practices of EPO applicants. The results of their study will also contribute to the policy discussions on the international patent system and how it benefits both our applicants and society as a whole.  The EPO has commissioned BERENT Deutschland GmbH, an international research agency, to conduct the survey among EPO patent applicants based in Europe and beyond selected at random from different categories. The chosen methodology means that some ASTP members may be contacted.

In order to ensure the completeness of the study, the statistical results derived from the survey will be complemented by a consultation with ASTP, so we are looking for volunteers to join a working group to provide a single ASTP report to share with the EPO 21 February 2022. If you are interested please contact  ASTP Working Group on patent grace period.

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