A Patent Prosecution Highway Pilot Program (PPH) was launched on October 1 last year between the Austrian and US Patent Offices. Originally scheduled to end on September 30, 2011, the two offices have agreed to extend this program.
According to a notice from USPTO Director David Kappos, the program is being extended so that the two offices can collect more information in order to adaquetly assess the feasibility of the program.
The PPH is a work-sharing program designed to improve the efficiency of prosecution among international patent offices and help reduce workload and backlog. The USPTO has PPH agreements with several IP offices around the world; visit the USPTO website for a full list.
For more information, you can also visit the PPH section of our blog.