The five largest Intellectual Property Offices in the world – the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the European Patent Office (EPO), the Japan Patent Office (JPO), the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), and the State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China (SIPO), recently agreed to launch a pilot program scheduled to kick off in January of 2014. This program, known as the IP5 Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH), aims to improve the accelerated treatment of patent applications between the five offices and encourages a global framework of work sharing.
According to the heads of these five offices, the primary goal of the PPH is to leverage procedures already in place which accelerate patent examination procedures. Under the IP5, applicants who have been found patentable by one office may be allowed accelerated processing of their applications before the other countries. In addition to fast tracking this process, the offices involved will exploit existing work results to the extent practicable.
According to EPO President Benoît Battistelli, the program will have many benefits. He states, “I am pleased that the first ever all-inclusive PPH pilot program is launched under the PCT framework. It is a very promising step on the way of facilitating the life of users in five big economic regions which represent 85% of the patents granted in the world. While the program allows the offices to gain additional experience in utilizing each others available work, it will support the aim of promoting the PCT as the primary global framework for work sharing”.
As Battistelli notes, the IP5 Patent Prosecution Highway program encourages a global commitment to improving and making patent filing more efficient. For more information on the IP5 PPH pilot program, please contact Eugen Stohr at the EPO, firstname.lastname@example.org.