Patent Prosecution Highway System Goes Global

Many Patent Prosecution Highway (“PPH”) Programs have been created and enlarged in the last years.  These include programs in the European, United States, and Japan Patent Offices.  Perhaps one of the best known, the IP5 PPH, launched in 2014 as a joint project between the five largest IP Offices, USPTO, EPO, JPO, Korean Intellectual Property Office, and Chinese Patent Office, to improve worldwide efficiency and address backlogs.  A PPH proves for an application which has been determined patentable by a recognized office to go through accelerated examination at other offices.  Such options are based on agreements between participating patent offices, allowing more efficient examination and avoiding duplicate work for examiners.  Of course, applicants profit by receiving patents faster.

Also in in 2014, 21 cooperating patent offices launched the Global Patent Prosecution Highway (“GPPH”).  Participants include:  Austria, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Nordic Patent Institute, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.  The GPPH also includes PCT work and uses a single set of qualifying requirements.