The USPTO, EPO and JPO have been meeting for a while to establish an application format for expediated examination among the offices. Recently, the offices signed a "memorandum of understanding" that allowed a framework for applicants to prepare a single application in a common application format for acceptance in each of the three offices.
Under the BasicPriciples of that Trilateral Work Group, "An application which complies with the Common Application Format shall be accepted without any further amendment by any of the Trilateral Offices as a national/regional application as far as the agreed-upon formal requirements are concerned. Each of the Trilateral Offices may provide requirements which are more favorable for applicants than the requirements provided for by the Common Application Format."
The USPTO released a Pre-OG Notice providing more details on the format that will allegedly "simplify and streamline application filing requirements in each Office to allow applicants to prepare a single application in the common application format for acceptance in each of the three Offices."
The USPTO confirms that the Common Application Format is consistent with current USPTO rules and procedure, and, while some of the requirements of the Common Application Format (CAF) go beyond what the USPTO requires, the USPTO will accept an application in the Common Application Format.
The EPO is planning to implement the (CAF) in the beginning of 2009. Paper, PDF and XML format will be accepted. The JPO is preparing for the introduction of CAF in early 2009, except that the sequence listing is a separate part of the description and that the request contains the number of the figure of the drawings which the applicant suggests should accompany the abstract are scheduled to be introduced in 2011.
For more background on the Common Application Format, see the "Website of the Trilateral Cooperation" with the links to the following information from November 20, 2007:
Basic Principles of the Common Application Format
Annex I: Common Requirements for All Types of Documents
Annex II: Comparative Table of Examples for Each Type of the Applications
As noted by Patent Docs on April 28, 2008, Annex I previously clarified that:
- Applicants will not be required to remove National Legends (i.e., cross references to related applications and statements regarding federal funding) from the description.
- A statement of industrial applicability shall be included when it is not obvious from the description or nature of the invention.
- Applicants will not be required to remove any reference citation list from the description.
- Applicants shall use the International System of Units (SI) in the description, but may use additional alternative unit systems as long as SI units are placed in parentheses.
- Paragraphs of the description (but not the title or section headings) shall be numbered consecutively using Arabic numerals.
- Mathematical or chemical formulae shall be preceded by a sign indicating that the formula is mathematical ("Math.") or chemical ("Chem."), followed by a space, and then by an Arabic numeral (e.g., Chem. 1).
- Tables shall be preceded by a sign indicating that the table is a table ("Table"), followed by a space, and then by an Arabic numeral (e.g., Table 1).
- Claims shall be preceded by a sign indicating that the claim is a claim ("Claim"), followed by a space, and then by an Arabic numeral (e.g., Claim 1).