Patent Trilateral activities

Since 1983, the Trilateral Offices, the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the European Patent Office, and the Japan Patent Office, have met to discuss areas of cooperation in sharing search tools, in seeking ways to benefit in the advances in information technology, in establishing international standards, and in comparing patent search/examination practices.

Recent Announcements

Trilateral Offices begin a Patent Prosecution Highway pilot for PCT applications.

The Trilateral Offices to Start PCT-PPH

The Trilateral Offices reached agreement on November 13, 2009, to begin a pilot program in the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) framework utilizing PCT work products (international search reports, written opinions, and international preliminary examination reports).

Under the PPH, an applicant receiving a determination from an office of first filing that claims in an application are allowable may request that the corresponding application filed at a second office be advanced out of turn for examination as to those allowable claims. to date, the PPH program, begun in 2006 and now the subject of bilateral agreements among a number of IP offices, has proved valuable in increasing efficiency.

Until now, the PPH program has been limited to cross filings of national applications under the Paris convention. This new agreement among the Trilateral Offices greatly expands the potential of the PPH program. By providing the re-use of positive results from PCT work products, the PPH will now be available to applicants using these offices.

The details of this new pilot program, scheduled to begin on January 29, 2010, will be available shortly and posted at as well as the respective websites of the Trilateral Offices.

For further information, please visit .

Trilateral Offices Complete Comparitive Study on Novelty Practices

Trilateral Offices Complete Comparative Study on Novelty Practices

Study Will Become Part of a Trilateral Manual of Comparative Practices

The Trilateral Offices- (the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the Japan Patent Office (JPO), and the European Patent Office (EPO)) -have completed work on a comparative study on novelty practices. The novelty study is a follow-on to already-completed studies in complementary practice areas and, along with other proposed practice analyses, will become part of a comprehensive Trilateral Manual of Comparative Practices (Manual).

The studies and the completed Manual will provide applicants and examiners with an enhanced understanding of the similarities and differences in each Office's applicable law, regulations, guidelines and practices in areas critical to patentability. They will also facilitate work-sharing among the offices because an examiner will be able to better understand a counterpart examiner's decision-making rationale. In addition, applicants will be able to prepare higher quality patent applications, to predict more accurately the results of an examination, and to obtain worldwide stronger patents. The quality enhancement of patent applications will contribute to a more timely examination and a decrease of the backlog. Comparative studies have been completed for the following topics:


Disclosure and Claims

Inventive Step/Non-Obviousness

The Trilateral offices will undertake further comparative studies beginning with examination related determinations that have the most commonality among the Offices. Updates on completed projects, other planned studies and progress on the Manual will be provided in due course.