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Japan, the United States and the European Union agreed Friday to cooperate on sharing patent information in a bid to speed up the examination process amid an increase of applications, officials at the Japan Patent Office said.

About 80 percent of patent applications around the world are handled in Japan, the U.S. and the EU. The Japan Patent Office said patent authorities in the three regions are struggling to deal with the workload.

Under the agreement, Japan, the U.S. and the EU will share information on preliminary technical surveys conducted ahead of application reviews as well as the results of such reviewing, the officials said.

The agreement was reached at a meeting in Tokyo attended by Yasuo Imai, commissioner of the Japan Patent Office, James Rogan, director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and European Patent Office President Ingo Kober.

Specifically, patent authorities in the three regions plan to launch a network in which they can share information online on application reviews.

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