Speedy Patent Prosecution, Part Four: Patent Prosecution Highway

The Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) is a program applicable to inventors filing applications for a single invention in multiple nations or jurisdictions. When one or more claims on one such application have been ruled patentable by one participating nation’s patent office, the corresponding claims on applications filed with another participating nation’s office may be fast-tracked.

For example, an applicant may seek a patent on his invention in both the United States and Canada. If the Canadian Intellectual Property Office allows some or all of the inventor’s claims while the USPTO’s examination is still pending or in process, the inventor may file with the USPTO to request for fast-tracked examination of the corresponding claims through the PPH program.

The program has historically consisted of a web of two-way agreements between various IP offices. Beginning in January 2014, however, the USPTO and 12 other offices will participate in a Global PPH pilot program featuring streamlined rules, common forms and uniform qualification requirements.

Requesting fast-track examination under the PPH program requires a petition to make special. There is no filing fee associated with this petition, which is in connection with the PPH program.

This concludes Brooks Acordia’s series on speedy patent prosecution. Contact our offices for the latest information on these programs and any new ones the USPTO may implement, or for an evaluation of your invention’s patentability and eligibility for speedy prosecution.

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