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Easier access to patent protection in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland

New intergovernmental organisation for cooperation on patents

18 July 2019

The national patent offices of the Visegrad Group – the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland or the "V4" – have joined forces and set up an intergovernmental organisation for cooperation on patents,

The Visegrad Patent Institute (VPI) was launched in July 2016 under the World Intellectual Property Organization's Patent Cooperation Treaty and is an international searching and preliminary examining authority. The aim is to provide a cheaper and more accessible patent application procedure for the four countries.  Searches will be available in English and the languages of each member of the Visegrad Group.

The VPI's activities

The VPI subjects each patent application to an international search. The results are reflected in an international search report, which is provided to the applicant (in his or her language) and to the International Bureau of the WIPO. An International Preliminary Examination takes place only in cases where the applicant requests it. The role of the authority is to conduct a preliminary examination of the patentability of the invention, for example whether the invention appears to be novel, whether it involves an inventive step and whether it is industrially applicable.  An appraisal is given to the applicant and to the International Bureau of the WIPO.

The benefits

The patent process should be faster and cheaper and will enable applicants to communicate with the VPI in Czech, Slovak, Hungarian or Polish.

In addition, if a search has already been completed by a national authority for national patent purposes, an applicant can request a refund of the fees paid to the VPI for research – of up to 40% (750 euros) – provided that the result of the research is useable.

The services of the VPI are not limited to the V4 countries; any other European country can extend the scope of the VPI.

Further Reading

For a more detailed examination of this development and other recent IP stories please see the Clifford Chance's Global Intellectual Property Newsletter. Our quarterly publication which provides an overview of the most recent IP developments in major jurisdictions around the world.