WASHINGTON - The Commerce Department's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the National Board of Patents and Registration of Finland (NBPR) agreed to partner in establishing a Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot program. PPH agreements are cooperative initiatives that streamline the patent system and promote expeditious, inexpensive and high-quality patent protection throughout the world. The U.S.-Finnish PPH is USPTO's tenth such agreement with other nations' patent and trademark offices. The pilot period will begin on July 6, 2009, and continue for a period of one year.
"This PPH pilot marks a new cooperative partnership with the National Board of Patents and Registration of Finland," said Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Acting Director of the USPTO John Doll. "By taking advantage of the work done at each other's office, we will reduce inefficient redundancy of efforts and expedite the examination process at both offices. PPH plays an important role in our workshare strategy to counter the growing backlog and increasing pendency of patent applications and offer more options to our users."
"Serving our clients is our top priority," said President of NBPR Martti Enäjärvi. "We believe the reduction of duplication of examination work, speeding up processing, and improvement of patent quality will bring great advantages to Finnish and U.S. applicants. With this agreement, the NBPR will now have PPH pilot programs with two major patent offices, the USPTO and the Japan Patent Office. We are pleased with the new collaboration with these key offices and having the possibility to provide new alternatives for our clients."
Under PPH agreements, an applicant receiving a favorable ruling from one nation's patent office on at least one claim in an application may request that the corresponding application filed with the other nation advance out of turn for examination. By coordinating patentable results between both nations' offices, applicants can expect to obtain patents in both nations more quickly. USPTO requirements for participation in the U.S.-Finnish PPH are available at: www.uspto.gov/web/patents/pph/pph_nbpr.html.
NBPR requirements for participation can be found at: www.prh.fi/en/patentit/pph.html.
The USPTO and NBPR will continue to evaluate the needs of applicants and the progress of the PPH. Discussions on revisions to the requirements and to improve the procedure of the PPH will be ongoing.
The pilot program may be extended if necessary to adequately assess the feasibility of the PPH program. Notification of any revisions will be posted on the Web sites of each office.