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The Japan Patent Office Commencement of the Patent Prosecution Highway Program between Japan and New Zealand The Global Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) program to be expanded

The Japan Patent Office (JPO) and the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand(IPONZ) will start the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) program from July 6, 2017. This commencement brings the number of PPH partner countries and regions to 38. This program will enable Japanese companies to acquire patent rights in New Zealand in an accelerated manner, thereby encouraging them to smoothly develop their business in the country.

1. Background

As the number of patent applications filed worldwide tends to grow with the advent of economic globalization, those filed by Japanese companies with overseas patent offices are also increasing. To address this situation, the JPO has been promoting the PPH program*1 so as to encourage applicants in Japan to acquire patent rights overseas in an accelerated manner, secure quality protection of such rights, and reduce the burdens on patent examinations. As part of this effort, the JPO has been encouraging overseas patent offices to participate in the Global Patent Prosecution Highway (GPPH) program*2, a multinational framework under which three types of available programs under the PPH program are harmonized aiming to enhance user-friendliness for applicants.

2. Outline of the PPH pilot program with IPONZ

On July 6, 2017, IPONZ will begin participating in the GPPH program. This will enable applicants whose applications have been determined to be patentable by the JPO to undergo an accelerated examination in IPONZ with a simple procedure upon request from the applicants.

3. Advantages that Japanese companies may enjoy through the start of the PPH pilot program between the JPO and IPONZ

If applicants file applications with IPONZ under the PPH program, IPONZ will examine such applications in an accelerated manner prior to other applications. Annually, approximately 200 applications are filed from Japan with IPONZ mainly in technological fields, e.g., medical preparation. Japanese companies which file applications with INPI under the PPH program will be able to acquire their patent rights in New Zealand in an accelerated manner, thereby encouraging them to smoothly develop their business in the country.

Notes:

*1 The PPH program enables an applicant whose application has been determined to be patentable by the Office of First Filing (OFF) to undergo an accelerated examination in the Office of Second Filing (OSF) with a simple procedure upon request from the applicant on the basis of bilateral office agreements. Currently, the PPH program consists of three types of frameworks: conventional PPH, PPH MOTTAINAI, and PCT-PPH programs.

*2 The GPPH program enables an applicant of the partner countries to access the three types of frameworks under the PPH program. On July 6, 2017, the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce of the Republic of Colombia (SIC) as well as IPONZ will begin participating in the GPPH program. As the JPO has already been conducting the PPH pilot program with SIC, this participation of SIC in the GPPH program will not change any operation practices involving the PPH program between the JPO and SIC.

Details of the partner countries of the GPPH program

The new participation of IPONZ and SIC brings the number of partner countries of the GPPH programs to 24 countries and regions: Japan, the United States, the ROK, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Finland, Russia, Hungary, Canada, Spain, Sweden, Nordic Patent Institute, Norway, Iceland, Israel, Portugal, Australia, Austria, Singapore, Germany, Estonia, Poland, New Zealand, and Colombia.

Release date

July 3, 2017

Division in Charge

Examination Promotion Office, Administrative Affairs Division, Patent and Design Examination Department (Physics, Optics, Social Infrastructure and Design), JPO
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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