The world’s five largest Intellectual Property Offices (IP5) -the European Patent Office (EPO), the Japan Patent Office (JPO), the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China (SIPO) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)- agreed to launch a comprehensive IP5 Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot programme as of January 2014.

The programme will utilise both PCT and national work products and will improve the accelerated treatment of patent applications. The PPH arrangements currently operational between the IP5 Offices will be integrated in this all-inclusive scheme.

Under the programme, applicants whose patent claims have been found to be patentable by one office may ask for accelerated processing of their corresponding applications pending before the other IP5 offices. Moreover, in carrying out the task the offices concerned will also exploit already existing work results to the extent practicable. Requests to use the PPH can be filed with any of the IP5 Offices both on the basis of PCT as well as national work products established by the IP5.

Details and requirements for participation in the IP5 PPH pilot programme will be announced on the EPO website.

(Source: EPO, 24.09.2013)