Substantive patent law harmonisation

The history of patent law harmonization goes back to the adoption of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property in 1883.


The aims of substantive patent law harmonization for users of the international patent system are to simplify and speed up procedures at the international level, to reduce the costs of obtaining and enforcing intellectual property rights and to provide greater certainty as to the fate, duration and costs of proceedings before the various offices around the world.

The Group B+ is an informal forum composed of around 45 industrialised countries, the European Commission and the EPO. The Group B+ aims to promote and facilitate progress on key issues under consideration at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and specifically to move forward on substantive patent law harmonisation.

The Industry Trilateral (IT3) includes representatives from the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA), the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), BusinessEurope and the Japan Intellectual Property Association (JIPA).


The Industry Trilateral and the Group B+ are engaged in work on substantive patent law harmonisation. In the autumn of 2021, the Industry Trilateral released their ‘Elements Paper’ (pdf) of September 2020, a work in progress proposing a package of norms, which could serve as a basis for achieving global substantive patent law harmonisation.


FICPI is the only international NGO whose membership consists entirely of IP attorneys in private practice. Also very active on issues of substantive patent law harmonisation, FICPI published a ‘Position paper’ (pdf) on the work of the B+ Group and IT3.