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  • Commencement of the PCT-Patent Prosecution Highway pilot program between the JPO and the Danish Patent and Trademark Office/the Nordic Patent Institute

Commencement of the PCT-Patent Prosecution Highway pilot program between the JPO and the Danish Patent and Trademark Office/the Nordic Patent Institute

The Japan Patent Office (JPO) and the Danish Patent and Trademark Office (DKPTO), which launched a pilot program for the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH)*1 in July 2008, will expand eligibility for the PPH from October 1, 2011. Accordingly, patent applicants whose PCT applications*2 have been assumed as patentable by the JPO, serving as the International Searching Authority or the International Preliminary Examining Authority, will additionally be entitled to request an accelerated examination of the corresponding applications.

The JPO will also commence a PPH pilot program with the Nordic Patent Institute (NPI)*3 on October 1, 2011. This will take the number of Japan’s PPH partners to 16.

These steps are expected to enhance convenience for applicants in both Japan and Nordic countries; for example, Japanese applicants filing applications with the DKPTO will have greater opportunity for accelerated examination.

1. Background

As the economy globalizes, an increased number of companies in developed countries are expanding business internationally and are consequently accelerating the tendency to file and obtain a patent for the same invention in multiple countries. This has resulted in problems such as an increase in the duration of the examination period and a heavier examination workload at each patent office.

To cope with these problems, the JPO is promoting the PPH scheme, a framework whereby patent applicants whose applications have been assumed as patentable by a patent office (the Office of First Filing) are entitled to request, through a simple procedure, an accelerated examination of the corresponding applications at another patent office (an Office of Second Filing) based on the examination results of the Office of First Filing.

2. PCT-PPH Pilot Program between the JPO and the DKPTO/the NPI

The JPO and the DKPTO launched a PPH pilot program in July 2008. Both offices will expand eligibility for the PPH from October 1, 2011, in order to enhance convenience for applicants. Currently, the opportunity for accelerated examination at the DKPTO is given only to applications determined to be patentable in the Japanese examination process by the JPO. From October 1 onward, PCT applications*2 having been assumed as patentable by the JPO, serving as the International Searching Authority (or the International Preliminary Examining Authority), will also be eligible if the applicant requests accelerated examination for the DKPTO under the PPH pilot program on the basis of the positive written opinion of the JPO.

The JPO concurred with the NPI that the two offices would launch a PPH pilot program on October 1, 2011. This has taken the number of Japan’s PPH partners to 16. Under the PPH pilot program, patent applicants whose PCT applications have been assumed as patentable by the NPI, serving as the International Searching Authority (or the International Preliminary Examining Authority), will be entitled to request an accelerated examination of the corresponding applications at the JPO on the basis of the positive written opinion of the NPI.*4

With a view to allowing applicants to obtain foreign patents faster, the JPO will continue efforts to expand the scope of countries and applications eligible for the PPH programs and to standardize and simplify the PPH request procedures. Through its effort to expand the PPH, the JPO also seeks to widen the use of examination results of other offices in order to reduce the workload of patent examiners and improve the efficiency of the examination process.

*1: Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH): A scheme whereby patent applicants whose applications have been assumed as patentable by a patent office are entitled to request, through a simple procedure, an accelerated examination of the corresponding applications in another patent office.

*2: PCT applications are international applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). By filing a single PCT application, an applicant can achieve the effect of simultaneously filing it in a plurality of PCT member states that he/she designates. Since these applications are examined for patentability by the International Searching Authority or the International Preliminary Examining Authority designated by the PCT, with the results published, patent offices can refer to official opinions presented therein during their domestic examination of corresponding applications. The JPO is the International Searching Authority and the International Preliminary Examining Authority for PCT applications accepted in Japan; and the NPI for PCT applications accepted in Denmark, Norway, and Iceland.

*3: The Nordic Patent Institute (NPI) is an international organization established by Denmark, Norway and Iceland. The NPI acts as the International Searching Authority and the International Preliminary Examining Authority for PCT applications accepted in these three member countries, but it is not engaged in the examination and rights granting processes for patent applications filed in these countries.

*4: Japanese applicants cannot request the PPH in Norway and Iceland because patent offices of these countries are not among the JPO’s PPH partners. The JPO will continue its effort to conclude a PPH agreement with these offices.

< Detailed information on PPH programs applicable to PCT applications >

Release Date

September 30, 2011

Divisions in Charge

- Examination Policy Planning Office, Administrative Affairs Division, First Patent Examination Department, Japan Patent Office

- International Affairs Division, General Affairs Department, Japan Patent Office

Related Information

Regional Affairs / Denmark

 
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