FICPI, The International Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys

APEC IPEG Roundtable on Patent Grace Period

01st April, 2019

FICPI, represented by its Vice-President Ivan Ahlert, was invited to speak in two panels: “Overview of International Substantive Patent Law Discussions” and “Panel Discussion: How Patent Grace Period Works from the Perspective of Inventors, SMEs, Patent Counsel”. 

The first panel was chaired by Elaine Wu (USPTO Office of Policy and International Affairs), and had as co-speakers Courtney Stopp (USPTO Office of Policy and International Affairs) and Ray Farrell (AIPLA). Ivan spoke about FICPI’s positions on the grace period, with particular emphasis on the voluntary nature of a PFD declaration. Ivan sent to Elaine Wu in advance paper “FICPI Position on Patent Law Harmonization (Group B+)” (FICPI/WP/2018/01). 

The other panel, also chaired by Elaine Wu, had as co-panelists Lin Sun-Hoffman (Liu, Chen & Hoffman LLP) and Francesca Rodriguez (Allesandri Legal). All the panelists spoke about their professional experience involving the grace period, stressing the fact that an internationally harmonized grace period would be of benefit to applicants who disclose their inventions before the filing date. 

Yet another panel on “Grace Period Law and Policy in the APEC Region: APEC economies talk about their current law/regulations and any recent changes to Grace Period” was moderated by Katherine Wang (USTR) and had speakers from IPOs of Chile, Chinese Taipei, Australia, Japan, and Thailand. Ivan intervened at the Q&A portion to highlight the fact that even before a treaty had been concluded on substantive harmonization, it was already possible to observe a strong convergence towards adoption of a novelty grace period. Speakers of Chile and Japan showed numbers of patent applications in which the grace period was invoked (about 1% of the total in Japan).

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum is the main forum for promoting growth, technical and economic cooperation, trade facilitation and liberalization, and investment in the Asia-Pacific region. It was created in 1989, at the behest of Australia and Japan, to strengthen the community of the Asia-Pacific region ( The Forum includes several meetings related to different fields of the economy and trade, the IP aspects being discussed in the IP Experts Group (IPEG). The audience is composed of a mix of government officers also of different areas, who may have an influence in political decisions. 

Author: Ivan Ahlert

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