24 September 2013
The world's five largest Intellectual Property Offices (IP5) - the European Patent Office (EPO), the Japan Patent Office (JPO), the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the State Intellectual Property Office of the People's Republic of China (SIPO) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) - agreed to launch a comprehensive IP5 Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot programme as of January 2014. The programme will utilise both PCT and national work products and will improve the accelerated treatment of patent applications. The PPH arrangements currently operational between the IP5 Offices will be integrated in this all-inclusive scheme.
Meeting in Geneva, EPO President Benoît Battistelli, JPO Commissioner Hideo Hato, KIPO Commissioner Young-min Kim, SIPO Deputy Commissioner He Hua and the Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce and Deputy Director of the USPTO, Teresa Stanek Rea, endorsed a pilot programme which leverages fast track patent examination procedures already in place at the IP5 in order to enable obtaining patents faster and more efficiently. Under the programme, applicants whose patent claims have been found to be patentable by one office may ask for accelerated processing of their corresponding applications pending before the other IP5 offices. Moreover, in carrying out the task the offices concerned will also exploit already existing work results to the extent practicable. Requests to use the PPH can be filed with any of the IP5 Offices both on the basis of PCT as well as national work products established by the IP5.
"I am pleased that the first ever all-inclusive PPH pilot programme is launched under the PCT framework. It is a very promising step on the way of facilitating the life of users in five big economic regions which represent 85% of the patents granted in the world" noted EPO President Battistelli. "While the programme allows the Offices to gain additional experience in utilising each other's available work, it will support the aim of promoting the PCT as the primary global framework for work-sharing."
Details and requirements for participation in the IP5 PPH pilot programme will be announced on the website.