What is the Patent Prosecution Highway?

In Insights, Uncategorized

21 December, 2009

The Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) is a concept originally proposed by the Japanese Patent Office (JPO). PPH has the purpose of increasing the speed and improving the quality of the prosecution of patent applications. This is achieved in that the patent offices of two countries make an agreement to use each other’s search and examination result when prosecuting analogous applications.

A PPH is thus a bilateral agreement between the patent offices of two countries on using each other’s search and examination results in treating analogous patent applications. The three leading national patent offices as regards making PPH agreements are the Japanese Patent Office, the Korean Intellectual Property Office and the United States Patent and Trademark Office, mutually having made PPH agreements on a permanent basis.

Seen from a local point of view, the possibilities of the PPH are mostly relevant for applicants having an interest in Denmark, as the Danish Patent and Trademark Office (DKPTO) has made PPH agreements on a pilot project basis with each of the above mentioned three leading national patent offices.

Amongst other countries having made PPH agreements are e.g. Finland, Germany, United Kingdom and Russia.

Applicants who wish to obtain a patent for a given invention in two countries that have established a mutual PPH may thus take advantage of this PPH. A PPH may generally be used when the patent office of the country in which the applicant first filed his patent application has found that the claims of the patent application patentable.

Thereby the applicant may achieve a faster prosecution, and ultimately hopefully a patent, at the patent office of the second country. Simultaneously, the amount of correspondence with the second country’s patent office should expectedly decrease, which should in turn expectedly mean that the applicant could save resources by using a PPH.

It is generally possible to use PPH on national patent applications, and for most of the existing PPH’s, including those of the DKPTO, on international (PCT) patent applications having been continued nationally.

Troels Peter Rørdam, Associate 

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