Consultation on the substantive patent law harmonisation from 4 April to 20 May 2022

Substantive patent law is being harmonised to simplify and accelerate procedures at the international level, to reduce the costs of obtaining and enforcing intellectual property rights, and to provide certainty about the duration and costs of procedures in offices worldwide. The intellectual property offices in 45 industrialised countries and the European Patent Organisation have been working on this topic within Group B+ since 2014.

The IPI and 16 other member countries of the European Patent Convention are involved in a concurrent consultation about the various documents drawn up by the Industry Trilateral (IT3), the FICPI and the AIPPI about potentially harmonising substantive patent law. The documents being examined in the consultation process are the Elements Paper (pdf) from the IT3, the Position Paper (pdf) from the FICPI and various AIPPI resolutions (see Documents & links below).

To make this subject easier to understand, the consultation document (pdf) contains a brief history of work in this area, a presentation of the topics that are the focal points of the efforts to harmonise substantive patent law, and information about the associations that produced the various documents. It also contains a synoptic table that makes it possible to compare the various proposals point by point.

The topics of the consultation are a harmonised grace period and its link to prior user rights, as well as various proposals with respect to the publication of patent applications, to potentially conflicting patent applications and to the state of the art.

The IPI is carrying out this consultation to find out the opinions of Swiss people who use the international patent system, especially lawyers and patent attorneys, the heads of IP divisions and legal departments, and the CEOs of companies that frequently utilise the international patent system. We are also asking technology transfer offices at universities and other higher education institutions to share their views on the different proposals. Feedback from external intellectual property attorneys would be valuable too.

The consultation period in Switzerland will start on 4 April 2022 and end on 20 May 2022. The common consultation document is available here (pdf). Please send your replies by e-mail in a Word or PDF document to by 20 May 2022.


The IPI has organised an information session with representatives of Swiss industry on 4 April, the opening day of the consultation. The IPI presentation and the presentations on the Elements Paper and the FICPI position paper are available below.

If you have any questions, please contact Mr Anaïc Cordoba, +41 31 377 72 54, anaic.cordobanot shown@ipito make life hard for spam