On May 31, 2013 the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (“CIPO”) and the State Intellectual Property Office (“SIPO”) of the People’s Republic of China announced a pilot agreement to launch a Patent Prosecution Highway (“PPH”) between Canada and China. The PPH is designed to accelerate examination of patent applications in one country that have been allowed in the other. This is intended to reduce duplication in examination.

A PPH agreement has existed for some time between the United States and Canada. Applicants have experienced significantly shortened time frames between patent filing and allowance, with patents being allowed in as little as two weeks. CIPO hopes that Applicants will realize similar examination improvements when employing the new Canada-China PPH.

The Canada-China PPH will commence on September 1, 2013 and operate for a two-year period. In addition, China will provide Canadian patent examiners with access to China’s Traditional Chinese Medicine Database for reference during examination. Norton Rose Fulbright’s Canadian and Chinese offices expect to reduce prosecution costs for their clients by working together to manage prosecution to make the most of each country’s examination systems.

Pilot PPH agreements also exist between Canada and Denmark, Finland, Germany, Israel, Japan, Korea, Spain, and the United Kingdom.