From 6 January 2014, the Australian Patent Office implemented an agreement with 16 other patent offices to commence operation of the Global Patent Prosecution Highway (GPPH). The GPPH program is intended to reduce the effort of national patent offices based on the principle that an invention that is found by one patent office to be patentable should form the basis for accelerating examination of a patent application for the same invention in a second patent
Under the GPPH program, Australian patent applicants who have received a favourable opinion from the Australian Patent Office regarding the novelty and inventiveness of their invention, have the ability to expedite examination of their patent applications in a number of countries. These countries include Canada, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Russia, the United States and a number of European countries including the United Kingdom. This program also applies to patent applications based on an Australian originating International (PCT) Patent Application. Notably absent from the list of countries with which Australia has such an agreement are the European and Chinese patent offices.
On 6 January 2014 a similar pilot program, known as the IP5 Patent Prosecution Highway (IP5 PPH), came into effect between the five largest patent offices in the world, namely the Chinese, European, Japanese, Korean and United States Patent Offices (the ‘IP5’). It is possible for Australian patent applicants to benefit from this program to obtain expedited examination of their European or Chinese patent applications. Applicants can do this by relying upon the results of examination of a patent application in a country which is a party to both the GPPH and the IP5 PPH programs, notably the United States, Japan or South Korea.