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Commencement of the Patent Prosecution Highway pilot program between the JPO and the Portuguese Institute of Industrial Property

The Japan Patent Office (JPO) will commence a PPH*1 pilot program with the National Institute of Industrial Property of Portugal (Instituto Nacional da Propriedade Industrial, INPI) on April 18, 2012. This will bring the number of Japan's PPH partners to 22. This PPH will allow Japanese companies to obtain patent rights quickly and protect their rights effectively in Portugal, which currently does not have an accelerated patent examination system, and will lead to the facilitation of their business expansion in that country.

*1: Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH): A scheme whereby patent applicants whose applications have been determined 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.

1. Background

The globalization of the economy is accelerating the tendency to file and obtain patents 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 protects their rights more effectively outside their home countries, and mitigates the examination load of patent offices.

2. PPH pilot program with the INPI

The JPO and the INPI agreed to start a PPH pilot program on April 18 this year. This will bring the number of Japan's PPH partners to 22. This PPH applies to the patent applications that are assumed patentable by the JPO or the INPI, as well as international patent applications (PCT applications*2) having received a positive written opinion from the JPO, serving as the International Searching Authority (or the International Preliminary Examining Authority).*3

This PPH will allow Japanese companies to obtain patent rights quickly and protect their rights effectively in Portugal, which currently does not have an accelerated patent examination system. This will lead to the facilitation of their business expansion in Portugal. Furthermore, as the INPI has a database of documents in the Portuguese language, the use of the examination results provided by the INPI will enable the JPO to improve the quality of its patent examination process regarding applications filed by Portuguese applicants though the PPH.

With a view to helping Japanese applicants obtain foreign patents promptly and steadily, the JPO will continue making efforts to increase PPH partners and to standardize and simplify application procedures. At the same time, it will seek to enhance the use of the examination results of other patent offices in order to improve the examination quality and reduce the workload of patent examiners.

*2 PCT applications: PCT applications are international patent 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.

*3 PCT-PPH: A framework that allows an applicant to apply for a fast-track examination based on a written opinion prepared by a specific International Searching Authority or a specific International Preliminary Examining Authority or positive opinion of patentability in an international preliminary examination report.

Details of the PPH program

Release Date

April 11, 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

Related Information

Regional Affairs / Portugal

 
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