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Washington - The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and IP Australia (IPAU) announced the extension of their existing pilot bilateral Paris Convention Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) agreement and the formation of a new PPH pilot agreement utilizing Patent Cooperation Treaty results (PCT-PPH).
"We are pleased to extend and expand work sharing between the USPTO and IPAU," said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos. "By including PCT international phase work, more work can be shared between our two offices. This 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 and PCT Authorities. Under the Paris Convention 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. Under the PCT-PPH framework, faster examination is available for an application receiving positive PCT international search reports with written opinions or international preliminary examination reports. By coordinating certain search and examination results, applicants can generally obtain patents in multiple jurisdictions more quickly.
Until now, the PPH pilot program between the USPTO and IPAU was limited to search and examination results under the Paris Convention, and was scheduled to expire this year. The addition of PCT international phase work to the USPTO-IPAU bilateral PPH will greatly expand the usefulness of the PPH program to applicants and the offices. The new PCT-PPH pilot is scheduled to launch on January 24, 2011. The PPH pilot program and the PCT-PPH pilot program between the USPTO and IPAU are both currently scheduled to continue until April 13, 2012.
USPTO requirements for participation in the USPTO- IPAU PPH pilot program are available at: www.uspto.gov/patents/init_events/pph/pph_ipau.jsp.
IP Australia requirements for participation can be found at: www.ipaustralia.gov.au/pdfs/patents/PPH_USPTO_Procedures.pdf.
Information on the PCT-PPH pilot program will be available online shortly.
The USPTO and IPAU will continue to evaluate the needs of applicants and the progress of the PPH pilot programs. The pilot programs may be extended if necessary to adequately assess the feasibility of a permanent PPH program as well as a PCT-PPH program. Notification of any revisions will be posted on the websites of each office.
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For non-press inquiries regarding PPH programs, please contact the Office of Petitions at 571-272-3282 or at PPHfeedback@uspto.gov.