Commencement of the Patent Prosecution Highway pilot program between the JPO and the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines
At the Commissioner meeting between the Japan Patent Office (JPO) and the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHIL) held on February 9, the two offices agreed to commence a Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) *1 pilot program on March 12. This will take the number of Japan's PPH partners to 20 with the Philippines being the second ASEAN partner after Singapore.
This PPH will allow Japanese companies to protect their technologies promptly through effective patents in the Philippines, where no early patent examination system is available, leading to the facilitation of their business expansion there.
*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.
The globalization of the economy is accelerating the tendency to file and obtain a patent for the same invention in multiple countries. This has resulted in an increase in the number of patent filings worldwide and thus a longer examination period. To cope with these problems, the JPO is promoting the PPH scheme, which helps applicants acquire patents more speedily and protect their rights more effectively outside their home countries, and to lighten the load of examination on patent offices.
ASEAN member states, that have experienced a remarkable economic growth recently, are further aiming at establishment of a community for free economic activities in the region in 2015. They are focusing on stronger protection of intellectual property rights in order to realize this community. At the first Japan-ASEAN Heads of Intellectual Property Offices Meeting held on February 8, it was confirmed that stronger protection of intellectual property rights would be essential to further economic growth of ASEAN in the future and that Japan would cooperate in this endeavor, and adopted the "Tokyo IP Statement."*2
2. PPH pilot program with IPOPHIL
The JPO and the IPOPHIL agreed to start a PPH pilot program on March 12 this year. This will take the number of Japan's PPH partners to 20 with the Philippines being the second ASEAN partner after Singapore. The PPH applies to patent applications that are assumed patentable by the JPO or the IPOPHIL as well as international patent applications (PCT applications*3) having received a positive written opinion from the JPO, serving as an international searching authority and international preliminary examining authority*4. Under this program, applicants from Japan will be able to obtain the patent right appropriately and speedily in the Philippines where no early examination system is available, in accordance with the examination results in Japan. This will allow Japanese companies to protect their technologies promptly by effective patents in the Philippines, leading to the facilitation of their business expansion there.
With a view to helping Japanese applicants obtain foreign patents promptly and steadily, the JPO will further make efforts to increase PPH partners among other ASEAN member states including emerging countries, and to standardize and simplify the application procedures. At the same time, it will endeavor to improve the examination quality taking advantage of examination results by other patent offices and to lighten the load of examination.
*2: For details of Tokyo IP Statement, refer to the website below:
*3: 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.
*4: IPOPHIL is not designated by PCT as an international searching authority or an international preliminary examining authority at present.
Details of the PPH program
February 9, 2012
Division in Charge
- International Affairs Division, General Affairs Department, Japan Patent Office
- Examination Policy Planning Office, Administrative Affairs Division, First Patent Examination Department, Japan Patent Office