• HOME
  • Announcements
  • Obtaining IP Rights
  • JPO Activities
  • Statistics ⁄ References
  • About JPO
  • FAQs

Home > Press Releases > Commencement of the Japan-U.K. Patent Prosecution Highway pilot program and continuation of the Japan-U.S. Patent Prosecution Highway pilot program

Main content starts here.

Commencement of the Japan-U.K. Patent Prosecution Highway pilot program and continuation of the Japan-U.S. Patent Prosecution Highway pilot program

Press Release
July 3, 2007
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry

Starting July 1, 2007, the Japan Patent Office and the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office are accepting requests to participate in the pilot program for the PPH between both countries. This PPH is listed in the Advanced Measures for Accelerating Reform toward the Innovation Plan in Patent Examination 2007 (“AMARI Plan 2007,” formulated by METI headquarters on January 25) as an issue that should be promptly concluded for the promotion of rights acquisition by Japanese applicants on a global level, and is also a key recommendation in the U.K. government program to foster innovation. The implementation of the PPH was agreed during the meeting between the commissioners of both patent offices in March 2007.

The pilot program for the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) between Japan and the U.S. started in July 2006. Prior to this, the Joint Initiative for Enhanced U.S.-Japan Cooperation on IPR Protection and Other Global Issues, which was agreed between METI Minister Amari and U.S. Commerce Secretary Gutierrez in January 2007, had set out that both patent offices would commence the full implementation of the PPH in July 2007, as appropriate,, and work together to expand the implementation of the PPH to other countries. This time, because of the need to evaluate the impact of the recent expansion of the eligibility for the program to include PCT applications, both patent offices have decided that the pilot program shall continue beyond July 3, 2007.

1. Background

As economic globalization progresses, companies are facing a growing need to acquire patents in multiple countries, leading to applications on the same invention filed in multiple regions. In this context, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) is seeking international collaboration for patent examination with other national patent offices, with an eye toward more efficient examination and more expeditious patent acquisition.

2. The goal and an overview of the Patent Prosecution Highway

The PPH is an initiative aimed at helping patent applicants acquire foreign patents more easily and quickly, while reducing the examination workload and improving the quality of examination by enabling patent offices to make use of the results of prior-art searches and examination results of other national patent offices. To achieve these goals, the PPH program is designed to give patent applicants whose applications have been found patentable by the Office of First Filing an option to request accelerated examination of the corresponding applications to the Office of Second Filing through a simple procedure.

3. Commencement of the Japan-U.K. Patent Prosecution Highway Program

Pursuant to the agreement at the March 2007 meeting between both commissioners, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) and the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UK-IPO) started the pilot program for the PPH on July 1, 2007 and are accepting requests for participation from patent applicants.
For details on the requirements for participation and the procedures for filing requests, please see the announcement at http://www.jpo.go.jp/torikumi/t_torikumi/niti_ei_highway_program.htm. The planned trial period is one year.

4. Toward Global Expansion of the Patent Prosecution Highway

The pilot program for the Patent Prosecution Highway between Japan and the U.S. started in July 2006. It has been decided that the pilot will continue beyond July 3, 2007, pursuant to the request from the U.S. that pointed out the need to evaluate the impact of the recent expansion (effective since June 2007) of the eligibility for the program to include applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, in addition to applications under the Paris Convention. The trial period has been extended for an additional six months to January 3, 2008. After the expiration, the two countries will review the results of the pilot program to determine whether to move to full-scale implementation.

* PCT applications: Applications filed under the system in which a single application filed pursuant to the Patent Cooperation Treaty can have the effect of filing for patent applications in all the PCT member states (137 countries) on the same day.

5. Future development of the PPH

The PPH program between Japan and South Korea was launched in April 2007. The above pilot between Japan and the UK is the first joint effort of this kind with a European country, and is therefore expected to contribute to enhancing cooperation with other countries toward improving the examination process.
The PPH ongoing between Japan and the U.S./UK/South Korea is also hoped to expedite moves toward implementing the PPH between third countries and will consequently foster efforts to build a global network of PPHs.

[Last updated 23 July 2007]

Contact Us

Examination Policy Planning Office
Administrative Affairs Division

First Patent Examination Department
Japan Patent Office

Tel: +81-3-3581-1101 (ex. 3103)

E-mail:PA2260@jpo.go.jp

 

International Affairs Division

General Affairs Department
Japan Patent Office

Tel: +81-3-3581-1101(ex 2562)