HomeNews & EventsThe EAPO becomes a PCT ISA/IPEA and the Republic of Seychelles accedes to the Harare Protocol
October 18, 2021

The EAPO becomes a PCT ISA/IPEA and the Republic of Seychelles accedes to the Harare Protocol

EAPO

The Eurasian Patent Office (EAPO) has been approved to act as both an International Searching Authority (ISA) and International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). The consideration of the same was undertaken at the 53rd PCT Union Assembly on October 7, 2021 held at the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO).

An International Searching Authority facilitates the search for prior art in relation to patent applications filed under the PCT. At the time of filing, patent applicants under the PCT may choose an ISA to conduct the search, depending on the location of the applicant, cost for carrying out the search charged by the ISA as well as other possible factors. The ISA will also provide a Written Opinion of the International Searching Authority (WOISA), detailing an opinion as to the patentability of the application and claims contained therein. Moreover, applicants can further request an optional International Preliminary Examination from an IPEA, which can assist applicants in amending an application or putting up arguments as to issues raised in the WOISA, which can result in a more positive International Preliminary Report on Patentability (IPRP).

The move to make the EAPO a PCT ISA and IPEA was supported by the delegations of the Russian Federation, Spain, Japan, China, the United States, and the Republic of Korea. Moreover, a positive recommendation for the appointment of the EAPO as an ISA and IPEA was made over a year ago on October 6, 2020 by the PCT Committee for Technical Cooperation to the Assembly of the PCT Union.

It was noted by the President of the EAPO, Ms. Saule Tlevlessova, that the EAPO has achieved a high level of digitalisation, allowing the office to facilitate the IP protection process as an ISA and IPEA in a timely and efficient manner, with the recent successful experience of remote work as due to Covid-19 restrictions attesting to this.

Upon consideration, the Union Assembly of the PCT approved the draft Agreement between the International Bureau (IB) of the WIPO and the EAPO regarding the appointment of the latter as an ISA and IPEA from the date of entry into force of this Agreement until December 31, 2027.

The date of commencement of the EAPO as an active ISA and IPEA will be announced in due course, once the EAPO sends a corresponding notice to the WIPO. Thereafter, the EAPO will be the 24th ISA and IPEA under the PCT.

Seychelles

On October 1, 2021, the ARIPO Director General received the instrument of accession to join the Harare Protocol on Patents and Industrial Designs from the Republic of Seychelles. The Seychelles initially signed the instrument on August 26, 2021, with the same entering into effect for the jurisdiction on January 1, 2022.

The Republic of Seychelles joins Botswana, Kingdom of Eswatini, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Kingdom of Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe as the 19th Contracting Party to the Harare Protocol.

The Harare Protocol allows the ARIPO to grant protection for patents, utility models, and industrial designs on behalf of the Contracting States to the Protocol. Each right protected in the respective jurisdiction will enjoy the same protection as if they had been filed as a national application in that state. Applications for patents, utility models and industrial designs via the Harare Protocol may be filed either directly with the ARIPO, or with a National IP Office party to the Protocol.

The accession of the Republic of Seychelles makes the country the 21st ARIPO Member State overall. It is hoped that once enforced, the Harare Protocol being active in the jurisdiction will encourage more applicants to obtain patent protection in the Republic of Seychelles owing to the efficient and simplified manner of filing through the Protocol.

Author: Danielle Carvey
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