Press release | 13.11.2009
Kyoto/Munich, 13 November 2009 - The European Patent Office (EPO) and the Japanese Patent Office (JPO) today announced that they intend to launch a bilateral PPH pilot with effect of 29 January 2010.
The Patent Prosecution Highway will leverage fast-track patent examination procedures already available in both offices to allow applicants to obtain corresponding patents faster and more efficiently. It also will permit each office to exploit the work previously done by the other office and reduce duplication. The initiative will reduce examination workload and improve patent quality.
Both Offices believe that this pilot is a major step forward in the JPO-EPO co-operative efforts to manage workloads and will allow to take advantage of each other's work thereby reducing backlogs and increasing patent quality. The pilot also significantly expands the Patent Prosecution Highway network in the global patent office community.
Under the Patent Prosecution Highway, an applicant whose application filed with either the EPO or the JPO contains at least one allowable claim may request that the other office fast track the examination of corresponding claims in corresponding applications. Full requirements for participation in the trial programme will be available prior to implementation on the EPO website and the JPO website.
The purpose of the pilot is to gauge the interest of applicants and determine if the programme improves quality and efficiency and reduces the workload at each office. The trial period will be set for two years but may be extended or terminated earlier depending on volume of activity and other factors. Both offices will provide notice of any adjustment in the trial period.
Mr Eugen Stohr, Director International Legal Affairs