The PPH program provides means for patent applicants in one country to fast track the examination of eligible patent applications in another country. In particular, under PPH agreements, if claims of an application have been found to be allowable by a first intellectual property office (the Office of Earlier Examination or OEE), accelerated examination can be requested for the corresponding application at a second intellectual property office (the Office of Later Examination or OLE). There are Patent Prosecution Highway agreements (either of indeterminate length or pilot agreements) between CIPO and the following patent offices:
- The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO);
- Danish Patent and Trademarks Office (DKPTO);
- The German Patent and Trademarks Office (DPMA);
- The Japan Patent Office (JPO);
- The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO);
- The National Board of Patents and Registration of Finland (NBPR);
- The Spain Patent and Trademarks Office (SPTO);
- The United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO);
- There is also a two year Patent Prosecution Highway-Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT-PPH) project.
Interesting facts from the report include:
- PPH requests represent about 2.2% of the CIPO's first action examinations.
- During the above noted time period, the CIPO received 832 PPH requests (in which the CIPO was the OLE). In the majority of these requests (716), the USPTO was the OEE. The JPO was the OEE in 49 requests.
- In the reported time period, 382 of the PPH requests were to the Mechanical Division and 260 were to the Electrical Division.
- The CIPO was the OEE in 111 PPH requests as of December, 2011.
- In the reported time period, a first action issued for a PPH application in 2.0 months compared to 22.2 months for all applications that had examination requested.
- The average pendency time of a PPH application from first action to the issuance of a final decision was 4.0 months compared to 18.0 months for all applications that had examination requested.
- The first action allowance rate at CIPO among PPH applications in the reported period was 55% compared to 4.2% of all applications (that had examination requested).
- Grant rate of PPH applications in the report period was dependent on division. There was a lower grant rate in the time period for PPH applications in organic chemistry and biotechnology divisions (64% for each) as compared to mechanical (94%) and electrical (80%) divisions.
By Kay Palmer