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Common consultation on user proposals for substantive patent law harmonisation

The Intellectual Property Office of Ireland (IPOI) is seeking your views on proposals for substantive patent law harmonisation.

As part of a work program currently being undertaken by the Group B+ forum, the IPOI is seeking your views on proposals for substantive patent law harmonisation in the areas of grace periods, conflicting applications and prior user rights.

Group B+ forum

Group B+ is an informal forum that was established in 2005 to promote and facilitate progress on key issues under consideration at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and, in particular, to progress the international harmonisation of substantive patent law. Its members include the EU member states, the European Commission, the European Patents Office (EPO), EPOrg member states and all members of WIPO's Group B (approx. 45 industrialised countries).


This consultation is based on separate proposals from three user associations:

  • IT3 Elements Paper 2020 from the Industry Trilateral
  • FICPI Position Paper from the International Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys
  • the AIPPI Resolutions on grace periods, conflicting applications and prior user rights from the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property 

The linked form below provides direct access to each of the original user proposals and to a Common Consultation Document (CCD) that provides further information on the origin of the consultation itself, on the issues at stake and on the user associations that prepared each proposal. A detailed table contained therein provides a useful comparison of each of the harmonisation proposals. 

It is requested that prior to responding to the survey, participating stakeholders carefully read the Common Consultation Document, particularly the table containing summaries of the harmonisation proposals of the Industry Trilateral, FICPI and AIPPI. 

The linked form also contains the questionnaire on which the consultation is based. Similar consultations are being conducted in 16 other EU Member States. The results of the study will be anonymously collated by the European Patent Office and presented at the next Group B+ meeting, scheduled for September 2022. * 

* In line with the General Data Protection Regulation, personal information will not be included in the information sent to the European Patent Office. See further statement on data protection and freedom of information below.


Respondents are requested to make their submissions directly to the IPOI using the questionnaire contained in the following link:


The deadline for receipt of submissions is 5pm on Wednesday, 25 May 2022. 

Any additional information you wish to provide in relation to this consultation can be emailed to the IPOI at consult22@ipoi.gov.ie.

Data Protection and Freedom of Information

We are committed to engaging with stakeholders in a clear, open, and transparent manner.  Any person or organisation can make a submission in relation to this consultation. All submissions and feedback will be reviewed.  

In responding to this consultation, parties should clearly indicate where their responses contain personal information, commercially sensitive information, or confidential information which they would not wish to be released under FOI or otherwise published.  

We would also like to draw your attention to the Office’s Privacy Statement and Security Policy - IPOI which explains how and when we collect personal data, why we do so and how we treat this information. It also explains your rights in relation to the collection of personal information and how you can exercise those rights.


Grace period: The term “grace period” refers to a length of time before the filing date of a patent application during which certain disclosures of the invention, by the inventor or third parties, may not be considered to be prior art to the application. 

Conflicting applications: The term “conflicting applications” refers to patent applications that conflict with earlier-filed but later-published patent applications by the same or a different applicant. 

Prior user rights: The term “prior user rights” refers to the right of a third party to continue to use an invention where that use began before a patent application was filed for the same invention.

Topics: Intellectual Property