On June 26, 2017, the State Intellectual Property Office of China (SIPO) announced on its website the new development of its PPH programs. One change is to relax the PPH requirements on some contents in the PCT International Work Products, and the other change relates to start of the new PPH pilot program between China and Egypt. The two changes will come into effect as of July 1, 2017, making the PPH programs more convenient for the applicants to use in acceleration of examination for their corresponding Chinese patent applications.
1. Relaxing the PPH requirements on some contents in the PCT International Work Products
The SIPO has revised its Requirements on the Examination toward the Observation/Opinion described in Box VIII of the PCT International Work Products in the PCT-PPH Program.
In the past, in case any written opinion is described in BOX VIII of the latest international work products (namely WO/ISA, WO/IPEA or IPER) which forms the basis of a PCT-PPH request, the application shall not be eligible for accelerating examination procedure via PCT-PPH pilot program.
As of July 1, 2017, an applicant may submit a PCT-PPH request with the SIPO, where the written opinion described in Box VIII falls under the following circumstances:
(i) The opinion described in Box VIII does not relate to the claims that correspond to those in the Chinese application for PPH; or
(ii) The opinion described in Box VIII only relates to the defect(s) existing either in the description or in the drawings.
An applicant may submit a PPH request with the SIPO and briefly indicate the reasons why the application complies with the form-filing circumstances regarding Box VIII in item 3 “Explanation on Special Items” under Section E “Additional Notes” of the Request for Participation in the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) Pilot Program.
Where the applicant fails to make any explanation or the examiner finds that the application does not fall under either of the two circumstances after examination, the request shall be rejected.
2. Starting the new PPH pilot program between SIPO and Egyptian Patent Office（EGYPO）
The SIPO has signed new bilateral PPH agreements with EGYPO. This PPH pilot program will commence on July 1, 2017 for a duration of two years and ending on June 30, 2019.
Under the SIPO-EGYPO PPH pilot program, the substantive examination can be accelerated before the SIPO on the basis of a national work product from EGYPO.