World Intellectual Property Organization

Quality of patents

Quality is an essential aspect of the patent system to ensure that it serves its purpose of promoting innovation, contributing to dissemination and transfer of technology and fostering technological, social and economic development of the country concerned. Errors in patent grant and administration procedures can cause legal uncertainty and increase costs for all users of the patent system: rights-holders, competitors, users of patent information and the patent Offices themselves.

Consequently, various mechanisms have been built into the patent system, and additional measures have been developed by the Offices, to ensure that patent protection is only granted to inventions which fully comply with national legal requirements for patentability, and that grants are made in a timely and cost-efficient manner. Search and examination, third party observation and opposition mechanisms, among others, are examples of quality-related measures built into the system. In addition, practical guidelines for patent office employees and their training programs, codes of conduct for patent applicants, and quality control and quality management systems have been instituted by many Offices. Owing to the increased internationalization of patent filings, the SCP is exploring ways to improve the quality of patents globally.

SCP Working documents on the topic

  • Report on the International Patent System (SCP/12/3 Rev.2)
  • Proposal from the Delegations of Canada and the United Kingdom (SCP/16/5)
  • Proposal by the Delegation of Denmark (SCP/17/7)
  • Revised Proposal from the Delegations of Canada and the United Kingdom (SCP/17/8)
  • Proposal by the Delegation of the United States of America (SCP/17/9)
  • Quality of Patents: Comments Received from Members and Observers of  the SCP (SCP/17/INF/2, SCP/18/INF/2 and SCP/18/INF/2 Add.)
  • Questionnaire on Quality of Patents: Proposal by the Delegations of Canada and the United Kingdom (SCP/18/9)
  • Work-Sharing Programs among Patent Offices and Use of External Information for Search and Examination (SCP/20/8)
  • Proposal by the Delegations of the United Kingdom and the United States of America Regarding Worksharing between Offices in order to Improve Efficiencies of the Patent System (SCP/20/11)
  • Study on Inventive Step (SCP/22/3)
  • Study on the Sufficiency of Disclosure (SCP/22/4)

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