Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) – Fast Track Examination of Applications
The Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) speeds up the examination process for corresponding applications filed in participating intellectual property offices.
To offer applicants a faster route to patent allowance, reduce patent office workloads and streamline procedure, many patent offices have looked into ways of ‘sharing’ their work. The Patent Prosecution Highway consists of a network of agreements between various patent offices allowing applicants to accelerate prosecution in one office using positive examination results received from another office. This page provides a general overview of the PPH system and its requirements.
Under PPH, participating patent offices have agreed that when an applicant receives a final ruling from a first patent office that at least one claim is allowed, the applicant may request fast track examination of corresponding claim(s) in a corresponding patent application that is pending in a second patent office. PPH leverages fast-track examination procedures already in place among participating patent offices to allow applicants to reach final disposition of a patent application more quickly and efficiently than standard examination processing.
Under the Global Patent Prosecution Highway (Global PPH) pilot, a request for accelerated processing can be made at any participating office based on work products, including PCT work products, from any one of the other participating offices under unified criteria.
There is no fee under the PPH programs.
PPH in India
The Indian Patent Office (IPO) and the Japan Patent Office (JPO) commence a Bilateral Patent Prosecution Highway pilot program (hereinafter referred to as “PPH Pilot Program”) consisting of Normal PPH1 and PPH MOTTAINAI2 based on the Joint Statement of Intent (JSoI)
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal for adoption of Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) programme by the Indian Patent Office (IPO) under the Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trade Marks, India (CGPDTM) with patent offices of various other interest countries or regions.
The said programme will initially commence between Japan Patent Office (JPO) and Indian Patent Office on pilot basis for a period of three years only. Under this Pilot programme, Indian Patent Office may receive patent applications in certain specified technical fields only, namely, Electrical, Electronics, Computer Science, Information Technology, Physics, Civil, Mechanical, Textiles, Automobiles and Metallurgy while JPO may receive applications in all fields of technology.
PPH programme would lead to the following benefits for the Indian IP office:
- Reduction in time to dispose patent applications.
- Reduction in pendency of patent applications.
- Improvement in quality of search and examination of patent applications.
- An opportunity for Indian inventors including MSMEs and Start-ups of India to get accelerated examination of their patent applications in Japan.
- The ambit of the programme may be extended in future, as decided by the Commerce & Industry Minister.
- The patent offices will frame their own guidelines for implementation of the programme.
The said guidelines are issued to address the procedures that applicants need to take to request expedited examination. Applicants can request expedited examination by a prescribed procedure including submission of relevant documents on an application which is filed with the Office of Later Examination (OLE) and satisfies the requirements described in these guidelines under the PPH pilot program between IPO and JPO based on the application which is determined to be patentable by the Office of Earlier Examination (OEE).When filing a request for the PPH pilot program, an applicant must submit information in the prescribed Form presented in Chapter 5 of these guidelines, to the OLE. Following points are to be noted while submitting a request to IPO under the said PPH program:
- The number of the requests for the PPH in IPO will be limited to 100 cases per year on first come first serve basis.
- An applicant who has filed a patent application, either alone or jointly with any other applicant, shall not file more than 10 PPH requests to IPO per year
- Request for assigning special status for expedited examination under the PPH is required to be filed online in prescribed form 5-1 under chapter 5 of the PPH guidelines
- An applicant/Authorized agent can file the request for expedited examination on Form 18A only after the request for assigning special status filed on form prescribed in chapter 5 is accepted by IPO. The decision on Acceptance/Rejection/Defect noticed shall be communicated to the Applicant/Authorized agent through email as well as message on e-filing portal.
- In case of defects in form 5-1 the applicant will be provided opportunity to rectify the defects within 30 days from the issue of notification of defects by IPO.
- Notwithstanding the above procedure, the timelines for filing a request for expedited examination shall be as prescribed under the Patents Rules, 2003.