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European Patent Office (EPO) and China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) strengthen Cooperation within the PCT Framework

The EPO and the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) have agreed on a two-year pilot program last year that would allow Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applicants filing a PCT application at the CNIPA to choose the EPO as their International Searching Authority (ISA). This agreement was signed on November 12, 2020, at their joint conference in Suzhou, China. Due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus, it had not been determined when the program will start until the middle of October 2020. 

The Start of the program is in December 2020

Recently, the EPO finally announced that this pilot program will start on December 1, 2020. The pilot program will be open to nationals and residents of the People’s Republic of China filing with CNIPA or the International Bureau (IB) of the World IP Office (WIPO). Further, there is a limit participation in the program to 2,500 patent applications for the first 12 months and 3,000 for the next 12 months.

Benefits for Chinese applicants

For Chinese applicants, this program will offer an additional option to optimize their international patent strategy, especially when considering protection in Europe. As a result, Chinese applicants interested in accelerating the prosecution of their applications will, by selecting the EPO as their ISA, gain up to one year by entering into the European phase earlier and getting direct examination of their files, without the need for a supplementary European search. For more detailed questions about the pilot program, please use the following link:



WINTER BRANDL Partnerschaft mbB, Tianhao Miao (Chinese Manager, German, European and Chinese Patent Attorney) and Michael Schueller (Partner, German and European Patent Attorney)