USPTO and Partner Offices Agree to Test New, Enhanced Framework for the Patent Prosecution Highway

Pilot project will expand eligibility, improve user-friendliness
Press Release

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Peter Pappas or Jennifer Rankin Byrne
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Washington - The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced its participation in a pilot program to test an enhanced framework for the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH). The pilot, which will also include the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), Japan Patent Office (JPO), IPAustralia, National Board of Patents and Registration of Finland (NBPR), Federal Service on Intellectual Property, Patents & Trademarks of Russia (Rospatent), Spanish Patent and Trademark Office (SPTO) and United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO), builds on the success of the current PPH by modifying certain requirements to make the PPH easier to use and more widely available to a greater number of applicants.

Under the current PPH plan, eligibility is limited to reuse of search and examination results from a partner office on the first-filed, i.e., priority, application in a patent family. Under the enhanced PPH framework, participation may be requested on the basis of results available on any patent family member from any office participating in this pilot, regardless of whether it was the office where the priority application was filed. The pilot incorporates other improvements to the basic PPH framework, including a new definition of claim correspondence, which will make the system more flexible and user-friendly without compromising efficiency or quality.

"This new pilot is an important milestone in the evolution of the PPH network," said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos. "The stakeholders in the global IP community have embraced PPH and have asked for more opportunities to use the program. This pilot will be a more user-friendly version with greater flexibility to eliminate duplicative work."

The new pilot will commence on July 15, 2011, for a period of one year ending on July 14, 2012, but may be extended for up to one year or terminated earlier depending on volume of activity and other factors. The USPTO will provide notice of any adjustment in the trial period.

Applicants are advised that PPH arrangements with offices not participating in this new pilot are not affected, and that work done by offices acting as Authorities under the Patent Cooperation Treaty ("PCT-PPH") is not included in the pilot. For further information, please visit Detailed guidelines will be made available at

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