Patent Prosecution Highways (PPH) have been developed by patent offices to assist in advancing the prosecution of applications containing patentable subject matter. A PPH is a bilateral agreement between two patent offices under which one patent office agrees to expedite the prosecution of a patent application if the other patent office determines that the corresponding application before that patent office contains patentable subject matter.
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) commenced a PPH pilot project with the United States Patent Office (USPTO) on January 28, 2008. On October 1, 2009, CIPO commenced a PPH with each of the Japan Patent Office (JPO), the Danish Patent and Trademark Office (DKPTO), and the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO). These three new PPH pilot programs will run for a period of two years ending on September 30, 2011 and will probably be extended.
Accordingly, if a patent application is first filed in Canada, CIPO determines that at least some of the claims are patentable and prosecution has not started in the foreign patent office, it will now be possible to request expedited prosecution in the JPO, the KIPO and the USPTO.
Accordingly, if patent protection is required on an urgent basis for a new technology, the application can be filed first in Canada and accelerated examination requested upon filing in Canada. If CIPO determines that some of the claims are patentable, this can be used to advance a corresponding U.S., Japanese or Korean patent application to the front of the list to be examined.