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January 28, 2009

Jennifer Rankin Byrne or Ruth Nyblod
Phone: (571) 272-8400 or jennifer.rankin_byrne@uspto.gov or Ruth.Nyblod@uspto.gov

Press Release, 09-01

USPTO and KIPO to Implement Patent Prosecution Highway on Full-Time Basis

Washington, D.C. - The Commerce Department’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) today announced that they will implement the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) on a full-time basis, beginning January 29. A pilot feasibility study of the PPH, which began January 28, 2008, is scheduled to end on January 28, 2009.

Under the PPH, an applicant receiving a ruling from either the KIPO or the USPTO that at least one claim in an application is patentable may request that the corresponding application filed at the other office advanced out of turn for examination. By basing the prosecution in the second office on patentable results from the first office, applicants can expect to obtain patents in both offices faster.

“The pilot project has demonstrated that the Patent Prosecution Highway provides real benefits to both the USPTO and KIPO by eliminating redundant work, expediting processing and ensuring high quality of patents,” said Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Acting Director of the USPTO John Doll. “Implementation of the Patent Prosecution Highway on a full time basis is an important step toward realizing work sharing globally.”

“The success of the 12 month pilot period has confirmed that the PPH significantly expedites the acquisition of patent rights for applicants and enhances the efficiency of administrative work for both offices,” said the Commissioner of the KIPO, Jung-Sik Koh. “The PPH program on a full-time basis will make these benefits permanent and contribute to the development of the PPH network on a global scale.”

Implementation of the PPH marks a significant achievement in the cooperation initiative between the USPTO and the KIPO on enhanced intellectual property rights protection. The initiative calls for the USPTO and the KIPO to take a proactive approach to streamlining practices and procedures under the international patent system to promote expeditious, inexpensive and high-quality patent protection throughout the world.

Updated requirements for participation in the USPTO-KIPO PPH at the USPTO will soon be made available at: www.uspto.gov/web/patents/pph/pph_kipo.html. Requirements for participation at the KIPO can be found at: www.kipo.go.kr

The USPTO and the KIPO will continue to evaluate the needs of applicants and the progress of the PPH. Whenever appropriate, they will hold further discussions to revise the requirements and improve the procedure of the PPH. Notification of any revisions will be posted on the Web sites of each office.

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