Commencement of the Patent Prosecution Highway Pilot Program between the JPO and the Eurasian Patent Office
The Japan Patent Office (JPO) will commence a Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot program with the Eurasian Patent Office (EAPO)* on February 15, 2013.
This PPH will allow Japanese companies to obtain regional patents quickly which is valid in the eight former countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), including the Russian Federation and the Republic of Kazakhstan, and will lead to the facilitation of their business expansion in these countries.
The number of countries and regions that have concluded the PPH with Japan has now reached 25.
*Note: The Eurasian Patent Office (EAPO) is an international organization that was established by the former Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The eight member states are the Russian Federation, Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Turkmenistan, Republic of Tajikistan, Republic of Belarus, Republic of Azerbaijan, and Republic of Armenia.
The globalization of the world 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 longer examination periods. 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.
*Note: The Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) is 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.
2. PPH pilot program between the JPO and the EAPO
The JPO and the EAPO agreed to start a PPH pilot program on February 15, 2013. This will bring the number of Japan's PPH partners to 25.
This PPH applies to the patent applications that are assumed patentable by the JPO or the EAPO, as well as international patent applications (PCT applications*1) having received a positive written opinion from the JPO, serving as the International Searching Authority (or the International Preliminary Examining Authority).*2
Through the program, it is expected that Japanese companies will obtain regional patents*3 quickly. This would help these companies to expand their business smoothly in the eight former countries of the CIS, including Russia and Kazakhstan, whose economy is expected to develop in the future.*4
With a view to helping Japanese applicants obtain stable overseas patents promptly, the JPO will continue making efforts to increase the number of PPH partners and to standardize and simplify PPH 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.
Notes*1: 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.
*2: PCT-PPH is 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 a positive opinion of patentability in an international preliminary examination report.
*3: Regional patents are patents that are valid in two or more countries. They are granted by the national or intergovernmental authorities that are authorized to grant such patents.
*4: Additionally, the JPO has been administrating the PPH with the Federal Service for Intellectual Property, Patents & Trademarks of Russia (ROSPATENT) since May 18, 2009.
For details of the PPH, visit the following website:
February 13, 2013
Division in Charge
- General Affairs Department, International Affairs Division, Japan Patent Office;
- Examination Policy Planning Office, Administrative Affairs Division, First Patent Examination Department, Japan Patent Office