USPTO and SIPO Announce Launch of Landmark Patent Prosecution Highway Pilots

Pilots will reduce patent backlogs and increase examination efficiency
November 30, 2011
Press Release 11-70

CONTACT: (Media Only)
Paul Fucito
(571) 272-8400 or paul.fucito@uspto.gov;

WASHINGTON - Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) David Kappos and China's State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) Commissioner Tian Lipu, announced the start of the Paris Route and PCT Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot programs beginning on December 1, 2011.

PPH will permit each office to benefit from work previously done by the other office, which reduces the examination workload and improves patent quality. The expedited examination in each office allows applicants to obtain corresponding patents faster and more efficiently in each country. Under the Paris Route PPH pilot program, an Office of Second Filing (OSF) may utilize the search and examination results of a national application filed in the Office of First Filing (OFF) in a corresponding application filed under the Paris Convention in the OSF. The PCT-PPH pilot program will use positive international written opinions and international preliminary examination reports developed within the framework of the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

"The PPH pilot program is a prominent landmark of the continuous deepening of bilateral patent cooperation between the SIPO and the USPTO," said Commissioner Tian. "Patent applicants and stakeholders in both countries will benefit from the fast track examination provided by the PPH pilots. These PPH pilots will also effectively improve the capabilities of both offices to handle workloads, thereby promoting technology innovation and economic development in both countries through enhanced patent examination efficiency and quality."

"These PPH pilots mark a significant milestone of achievement in patent cooperation between our two offices," said Under Secretary Kappos. "They will promote high quality patents and expedite processing of patent applications in both offices by avoiding duplicative work and will provide greater costs savings to patent applicants, helping to spur greater innovation and generate greater economic growth and job creation in both countries."

Under the Patent Prosecution Highway, an applicant receiving a ruling from the State Intellectual Property Office that at least one claim in an application is patentable may request that the USPTO fast track the examination of corresponding claims in corresponding applications. Similarly, if the USPTO determines that at least one claim is patentable, the applicant may request accelerated processing of corresponding applications filed at the State Intellectual Property Office. Full requirements for participation in each trial program at the USPTO can be found at http://www.uspto.gov/patents/init_events/pph/index.jsp. Information on the State Intellectual Property Office's program may be found at http://www.sipo.gov.cn/ztzl/ywzt/pph/

The one year pilot programs will end on November 30, 2012. Both offices may extend the one year trial period upon mutual agreement. The purpose of this trial program is to gauge the interest of applicants and to evaluate the programs for patent quality, efficiency and the reduction of the workload at the USPTO as well as SIPO.

For non-press inquiries contact Magdalen Greenlief at 571-272-8850 or at Magdalen.Greenlief@uspto.gov.

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