Speedier patents

A new UK-US project allows companies filing for patents to do so faster and more efficiently.


The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) are now accepting applications from interested parties who wish to participate in a pilot ‘Patent Prosecution Highway’ project that has been established between the two offices.


The aim of the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) project is to allow applicants in both countries to obtain patents faster and more efficiently. It will permit each office to benefit from work previously done by the other office, in turn reducing examination workload and improving patent quality.


‘The PPH with the US Patent and Trademark Office builds on a similar pilot scheme with the Japan Patent Office which is already showing great promise,’ said Ian Fletcher, Chief Executive of the UK Intellectual Property Office.


Under the Patent Prosecution Highway, an applicant receiving a ruling from either the UK IPO or the USPTO that at least one claim in an application is patentable may request that the other office ‘fast-track’ the examination of corresponding claims in corresponding applications.


The purpose of the trial program is to gauge the interest of applicants and determine if the program does improve quality and efficiency and reduce the workload at the USPTO and the UK IPO. The trial period is set to expire on September 4, 2008, but may be extended for up to one year, or terminated earlier, depending on volume of activity.


Requirements for participation in the trial program at the USPTO can be found here.