programs are bilateral agreements between countries wherein an allowed or granted patent in one country would allow the applicant to fast-track examination of the corresponding application in another country, assuming that certain requirements are met. There are numerous benefits to PPH programs and their proliferation and use have grown significantly in recent years. For the applicant, electing the PPH shortens pendency time and increases the likelihood of grant. For patent offices, workload is reduced since the earlier patent office presumably has performed much of the “heavy lifting” associated with examination.
Recently, it was announced that a Global Patent Prosecution Highway will come into effect on January 6, 2014. The Global PPH will involve 13 patent offices and will follow a single set of requirements, thus simplifying the numerous bilateral PPH programs currently in place around the world. The 13 member offices are IP Australia, Canadian IP Office, Danish Patent & Trademark Office, National Board of Patents & Registration of Finland, Japan Patent Office, Korean IP Office, Nordic Patent Institute, Norwegian Industrial Property Office, Portuguese Institute of Industrial Property, Russian Federal Service for IP, Spanish Patent & Trademark Office, United Kingdom IP Office, and the US Patent & Trademark Office.
More details on the Global PPH Program can be found here.