On January 31, 2013, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) commenced a two-year pilot Patent Cooperation Treaty-Patent Prosecution Highway (PCT-PPH) program with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This complements the current PCT-PPH program based on international work product established by CIPO acting as International Searching Authority (ISA) or International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA), which is now being continued indefinitely.
The PCT-PPH programs provide for expedited prosecution of claims that have received a positive Written Opinion or International Preliminary Report on Patentability from the ISA or IPEA. This allows applicants to accelerate patent prosecution at an earlier stage when compared to traditional PPH agreements and can result in an extremely rapid grant of the patent.
CIPO will process requests for advanced prosecution under the USPTO PCT-PPH program free of charge, but all other regular fees for requesting examination will apply.
In addition to these PCT-PPH agreements, CIPO has a permanent PPH agreement with the United States, and PPH pilot agreements with Denmark, Finland, Germany, Israel, Japan, Korea, Spain and the United Kingdom. These agreements allow for patent prosecution to be accelerated in Canada based on a positive opinion from one of these patent offices.