It has been reported that the National Office of Intellectual Property (NOIP) of Vietnam will begin accepting requests on April 2, 2018, for the final year of its Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot program with the Japan Patent Office (JPO).

As the number of requests is limited, if you wish to file any PPH requests, please let us know as soon as possible. The requests should be prepared well in advance so they can be filed in the morning of April 2, 2018.

As previously reported, the NOIP’s PPH pilot program was designed to last from 2016 to 2018, and is strictly limited to 100 PPH requests per year. In 2017, the second year of the pilot program, this limit was reached in just one month and 21 days (requests were accepted from April 3, 2017, to May 24, 2017), so advance preparation and timely filing are essential to ensuring your PPH request is accepted.

Last year, Tilleke & Gibbins filed 14 of the 100 PPH requests received by the NOIP. Although the PPH requests were submitted in April-May 2017 and most of the related patent applications were recently filed (11 of the 14 were filed in 2016 or 2017), two of them are already about to be patented, and five of them have received examination results, attesting to the effectiveness of this pilot PPH program.

According to an officer of the NOIP, the NOIP and JPO have not yet officially discussed what happens “after the pilot program,” i.e., whether the PPH program will be extended. Nevertheless, comments from the JPO have indicated that the new PPH, if extended, would likely increase the limit of requests to more than 100 per year, but would limit the number of PPH requests filed by each applicant.