IP News in general

More traffic expected on the Patent Prosecution Highway

3rd November, 2008

Prosecuting patents in Japan and the USA has been made quicker and easier for UK applicants now that the scope of the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK-IPO) Patent Prosecution Highway scheme (as initially reported in our news item in March 2007) has been broadened.

Until recently, UK patent applicants have been able to accelerate examination in the USA and Japan by submitting examination reports issued by the UK-IPO. The system also works in reverse with the UK-IPO accelerating examination on the basis of Japanese and US examination reports.

This process avoids duplication of effort between examiners in the separate national offices and allows applicants to obtain consistent, granted patents faster and with less expense than the traditionally separate national prosecution processes.

The UK-IPO have now announced that the process will extend to national applications derived from PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty), or international, applications. The PCT route is a popular one amongst patent applicants and as such this announcement should open up opportunities for cost and time savings for all.

Applicants should note that the process applies to examination reports produced by the national offices subsequent to entering the national phase rather than examination reports prepared by the International Preliminary Examining Authority under the PCT process.

More details from the UK-IPO here.

More details on the PCT here.

Phil Sanger

March 2008


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