Washington - The Commerce Department's U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced two new pilot projects for the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) and the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO). The PPH leverages fast-track patent examination in each office to allow applicants to obtain corresponding patents faster and more efficiently in each country. It also will permit each office to benefit from work previously done by the other office, in turn reducing examination workload and improving patent quality.
"Office-to-office cooperation is a cornerstone of efforts to manage workload," said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Jon Dudas. "As it expands, the Patent Prosecution Highway network will increasingly contribute to streamlining the global patent system and, in the process, allow patent offices to achieve efficiency gains and higher patent quality by leveraging each other's work."
"Serving our clients is our top priority," says Mary Carman, Commissioner of Patents, Registrar of Trade-marks and Chief Executive Officer for the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO). "More effective cooperation between our two offices will benefit patent applicants worldwide. Our collective goal is to reduce duplication of examination work, speed up processing, and improve patent quality."
"By facilitating the direct use of each other's patent examination results, the KIPO-USPTO Patent Prosecution Highway will alleviate the examination workload and enhance the overall quality of examinations in our respective countries," said Commissioner Sang-Woo Jun of KIPO. "It will also be of great benefit for Korean and U.S. applicants as it will expedite the acquisition and commercialization of high quality patents."
Under the Patent Prosecution Highway, an applicant receiving a ruling from either CIPO or KIPO that at least one claim in an application is patentable may request that the USPTO fast track the examination of corresponding claims in corresponding applications. Similarly, if the USPTO determines that at least one claim is patentable, the applicant may request accelerated processing of corresponding applications filed at CIPO or KIPO. Full requirements for participation in each trial program at the USPTO can be found at www.uspto.gov/web/patents/pph/pph_cipo.html and www.uspto.gov/web/patents/pph/pph_kipo.html.
The purpose of these trial programs is to gauge the interest of applicants and determine if the program improves quality and efficiency and reduces the workload at the USPTO as well as the Canadian and Korean patent offices. The trial period starts today and is set to expire January 28, 2009, but may be extended for up to one year or terminated earlier depending on volume of activity and other factors. The offices will provide notice of any adjustment in the trial period.