The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office continues to foster relationships with various intellectual property offices around the world. The USPTO recently announced a new Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) with the patent office of the Czech Republic, and the planned launch of two additional PPHs with the patent offices of the Philippines and Portugal early next year.
Under the PPH, a patent applicant who receives a ruling from the Office of First Filing (OFF) that at least one claim in an application is patentable may request that the Office of Second Filing (OSF) fast track the examination of corresponding claims in applications filed in the OSF. The goal is to allow applicants to obtain corresponding patents faster and more efficiently.
The PPH is particularly advantageous for individuals and companies seeking to simultaneously protect their patent rights in various countries around the world. As detailed by the USPTO, the program offers the following benefits:
- Accelerated Examination: Examination generally takes place within two to three months from the grant of the PPH request, so long as the application has completed pre-exam processing and is ready for examination.
- Greater Efficiency: More than 90 percent of PPH cases are allowed, whereas the allowance rate for non-PPH cases is less than 50 percent.
- Decreased Costs of Prosecution: On average, PPH cases have fewer actions per disposal when compared to non-PPH cases, which saves both applicants and Offices time and expense. The USPTO also eliminated the petition fee in May 2010, making PPH programs an affordable option.
- Reduced Pendency: The PPH enables applications filed in multiple jurisdictions to be fast tracked based on another Office’s work product.
As the world becomes more interconnected, protecting your intellectual property in foreign countries can be the key to business success.