History of Nordic Patent Institute

At the meeting of the Nordic Council of Ministers on 29 September 2003, the Ministers for Trade and Industry noted the need for a closer Nordic cooperation in PCT matters. The Ministers decided to mandate the heads of the Nordic Patent Offices to carry out a feasibility study on the possibility of establishing a Joint Nordic PCT Authority including the possible benefits to users and society.

A Working Party was subsequently established with a mandate to carry out a comprehensive study on the subject.

The study (often referred to as "the blue book") was published in September 2004 and contained a thorough analysis of the number of possible models for the establishment of a Nordic Patent Institute and assesses their potential to meet the established objective of the Joint Nordic PCT Authority. The study also assessed the need for competent patent authorities in the Nordic countries and the challenges that these patent offices might face and whether development trends in general within the Nordic region would support the concept of Nordic cooperation within the industrial property area.

Read the complete study:

After the study was published, discussions started between the Nordic Countries on the establishment of a Joint Nordic PCT Authority. Unfortunately not all the Nordic countries could agree on which model should prevail which resulted with Finland and Sweden backing out of the discussions.

In May 2006 a working group composed of members from the patent offices in Denmark, Iceland and Norway published a new report, a follow-up on the Feasibility Study on Establishment of a Joint Nordic PCT Authority.

The new report contained a detailed proposal for an enhanced Nordic cooperation in the patent field, including in particular the establishment of a Nordic Patent Institute. The report dealt with tasks covered by the Institute, organisation of the Institute, quality assurance under the Institute and legal instruments for establishing the Institute.

The report was based on the notion that the cooperation will initially be between the patent offices in Denmark, Iceland and Norway, but nonetheless stating that it would be possible and desirable to extend the cooperation at a later stage to other patent offices in the Nordic area.

According to the report the Nordic Patent Institute cooperation should contribute to stimulating Nordic companies, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises, to innovation and economic growth. This shall be achieved by maintaining and developing the national patent offices as competence centres for Industrial Property Rights in the individual countries, capable of offering customised services of a quality and efficiency which is competitive by international standards.

Cooperation under the Institute should comprise the following services which supplement each other in a synergistic way:

  • PCT applications so the Institute should seek appointment as an International Authority under the PCT system (Patent Cooperation Treaty)and,
  • Contract work, i.e. subcontracted work from external patent authorities and search services for private customers.

The Nordic Patent Institute should in the beginning act as PCT authority for Denmark, Iceland and Norway, but applicants will still have the option of using the existing PCT authorities.

Finally the report stated that in performing its tasks, the Institute should draw, against payment, upon the resources of the national patent offices, and it may therefore be established and operated at very low added costs. It should be financed from fees levied on its services, without any need to increase fees for services offered by the national offices.

Read the complete report:

On July 5, 2006 the Agreement on the Establishing of the Nordic Patent Institute was signed by the governments of Denmark, Iceland and Norway and preparations for starting operations were commenced.

Nordic Patent Institute was appointed as a PCT International Search and Examination Authority by the PCT General Assembly in September 2006.

Nordic Patent Institute started operations on January 1, 2008.