In late July, the United State Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) entered into two agreements with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) that are noteworthy.

The first agreement, in the form of a memorandum of understating (MOU), is to undertake joint efforts to facilitate the resolution of disputes for standard essential patents (SEP), which are patents that are deemed essential for particular technical criterion or standards.  In today’s world, these SEPs are critical for wireless communication technologies, computer connection standards and automotive technology, to name just a few, but because technology is always evolving, the potential for disputes is always growing.

By signing this MOU, which will stay in force for five years from the date of signing, the USPTO and WIPO have agreed to cooperate on activities that will improve efficiency and effectiveness in the resolution of disputes regarding SEPs, as well as raising stakeholder awareness of alternative dispute resolution through WIPO’s Arbitration and Mediation Center and USPTO resources. 

The other agreement is a partnership between USPTO and WIPO GREEN, WIPO’s global green-technology platform, which was established in 2013.  The platform has 145 international partners that include major technology companies, intellectual property (IP) offices, business groups, research institutes and non-governmental organizations.

This agreement provides an online platform for technology exchange, which can connect those who provide green technology with those who need to use it for their industry to meet climate standards. It also should accelerate projects and collaborations for patents related to green technology.  The USPTO has joined 10 other IP offices around the world, which include offices in Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, France, Japan, Lebanon, Morocco, Portugal and Switzerland.

Two USPTO initiatives in particular work well with WIPO GREEN.  The goal of the USPTO Climate Change Mitigation Pilot Program is to accelerate the examination of patent applications for initiatives that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  The second will be the USPTO’s upcoming Patents for Humanity: Clean Energy Technology awards competition, which will be similar to the Patents for Humanity awards competition that concluded in 2021.

These agreements are relatively new, and we will continue to follow further developments and advise our clients and friends on future updated. As always, Ference & Associates is prepared to help guard against potential infringements, enforce your IP rights and litigate when necessary.