New Route Pilot Between USPTO and JPO

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Japan Patent Office (JPO) have been considering a proposal for work-sharing called the "New Route." Under the New Route framework, a filing in one office that is party to this arrangement would be deemed a filing in all member offices. The first office and applicant would be given a 30-month processing time frame in which to make available a first office action and any necessary translations to the second office(s), and the second office(s) would exploit the search and examination results in conducting their own examination. The first office would also be responsible for 18-month publication of the application. If the language of the first office is not English, an English language abstract and bibliographic data would be published together with the application. By allowing the second office to exploit the search and examination results of the first office, the New Route would help offices reduce overall workload, minimize duplication of search efforts, and increase examination quality.

While the New Route is in many respects similar to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) (a 30-month processing period, a single filing treated as a filing in several countries, a search report available to "designated" offices, etc.), it may further offer significant advantages to applicants, in particular, lower costs and more targeted filings.

Because the New Route, as envisioned, would require changes in law in the USPTO and the JPO, the USPTO and the JPO agreed, at the May 2007 Trilateral Technical Meeting, to commence a pilot project to test the New Route concept based on limited filing scenarios currently available under existing law in both offices. The start date for the pilot project will be January 28, 2008. A notice regarding the requirements/procedures for participating in the New Route pilot project will be posted on the USPTO website on or about January 14, 2008.

Information regarding the New Route pilot project is also available from the JPO website at (English).

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