January 18, 2011
Press Release, 11-04
Patent Offices of United States and Finland to Expand Work Sharing Efforts
Work Sharing Benefits Applicants by Reducing Pendency and Improving Quality
Washington - The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the National Board of Patents and Registration of Finland (NBPR) announced today the expansion of their existing bilateral Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) agreement to include international search reports with written opinions, and international preliminary examination reports developed within the framework of the international Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).
“This agreement will amplify the work sharing potential between the two offices by including PCT international phase work”, said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos. “Allowing more work to be shared between the offices will benefit applicants by reducing patent pendency and improving quality.”
Patent Prosecution Highway agreements streamline the patent system and promote expeditious and high-quality patent examination among participating offices by allowing patent examiners to avail themselves of work product from other patent offices. Under the basic PPH framework, an applicant receiving an allowable determination on a claim or claims from one patent office may request that a corresponding application pending before another patent office receive faster examination. By coordinating certain search results between patent offices, applicants can generally obtain patents in multiple jurisdictions more quickly.
Until now, the PPH program between the USPTO and the NBPR entered into on July 6, 2009, was limited to search and examination results under the Paris Convention. The inclusion in the USPTO-NBPR bilateral PPH of PCT international phase work generated by either the USPTO or the NBPR will greatly expand the usefulness of the PPH program to applicants and the offices. This initiative follows on a similar PPH expansion among the Trilateral Offices (the USPTO, the European Patent Office and the Japan Patent Office) that went into effect on January 29, 2010. More information on these programs can be found at www.uspto.gov/patents/init_events/pph/index.jsp.
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For non-press inquiries, contact Magdalen Greenlief at Magdalen.Greenlief@uspto.gov.