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January 30, 2009

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

Press Release, 09-02

USPTO and IPOS to Pilot Patent Prosecution Highway

Trial program to improve quality and pendency at both offices

Washington, D.C. - The Commerce Department's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) today announced that they intend to launch a new trial cooperation initiative called the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) on February 2. The Patent Prosecution Highway will leverage fast-track patent examination procedures already available in both offices to allow applicants to obtain corresponding patents faster and more efficiently. It also will permit each office to exploit the work previously done by the other office and reduce duplication. In turn, the initiative will reduce examination workload and improve patent quality.

"This pilot represents a major cooperative effort in the USPTO-IPOS workshare strategy to manage ever-increasing workloads. This program will allow us to take advantage of each other's work thereby reducing our pendency and backlogs while ensuring high patent quality,” said Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Acting Director of the USPTO John Doll. "The pilot further expands the growing global PPH network."

Under the Patent Prosecution Highway, an applicant whose application filed with either the IPOS or the USPTO contains at least one allowable claim may request that the other office fast track the examination of corresponding claims in corresponding applications. Full requirements for participation in the trial program will be available prior to implementation at www.uspto.gov/web/patents/pph/pph_ipos.html and www.ipos.gov.sg.

The purpose of the trial program is to gauge the interest of applicants and determine if the program improves quality and efficiency and reduces the workload at each office. The trial period will be set for one year but may be extended or terminated earlier depending on volume of activity and other factors. Both offices will provide notice of any adjustment in the trial period.

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