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Director's Forum: A Blog from USPTO's Leadership

Monday May 07, 2012

Continued Success in Improving the Global IP System

Guest blog by Acting Administrator for Policy and External Affairs Shira Perlmutter

As fiscal year 2012 moves forward, the Office of Policy and External Affairs (OPEA) continues to make great strides toward improving the global intellectual property system. Our dedicated staff promotes the protection of U.S. intellectual property interests around the world—from the World Intellectual Property Organization, to our work with the Office of the United States Trade Representative on trade agreements, to our collaboration with other offices via the Trilateral and IP5 processes. We are engaged in initiatives across the entire spectrum of intellectual property rights focused on enhancing the contribution the intellectual property system makes to global economic and social prosperity. I wanted to take this opportunity to give you an update on some of these initiatives and point you to details and statistics found on our updated Policy and External Affairs dashboard.

One of our most important projects is the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH). The PPH is a worksharing framework designed to promote more efficient and higher quality examination, while enabling innovators to obtain patent protection more quickly and with greater certainty in multiple jurisdictions. The basic concept is that when one office determines claims to be allowable in an application, the applicant can fast-track examination in another office on a related application (filed via the Paris Convention or the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)) containing the same or similar claims.

The USPTO has PPH arrangements with 22 patent offices around the world and the PPH network continues to expand. Furthermore, improvements made to the program were launched in January of this year as PPH 2.0, which are expected to encourage increased use of the program. As of the end of the second quarter, the USPTO had received a cumulative total of 10,322 PPH requests from applicants worldwide since the program’s inception.

Another of our key activities is providing educational and training programs for foreign government officials through our Global Intellectual Property Academy (GIPA) to improve intellectual property protection and enforcement worldwide. As of the end of the second quarter of this fiscal year, GIPA had conducted 68 training programs for 3,949 participants from 79 countries. 

I am proud of the work OPEA is doing to advance these important initiatives, and I look forward to reporting continued progress in the future.

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