June 15, 2012
From this year July 1st the Japan Patent Office (JPO) will expand the scope of applications that are eligible for using the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) between Korea and Japan and start a trial run for usage of the international Patent Prosecution Highway (PCT-PPH) based on international patent applications (PCT applications).
With this agreement, the PCT-PPH can be used between the JPO and 4 other patent offices, the United States (USPTO), Europe (EPO), China (SIPO) and Korea (KIPO), which together with Japan account for 80% of all worldwide patent applications. At the KIPO usage of the PCT-PPH is possible for American, Japanese and Chinese PCT applications but not yet for European PCT applications. As for the SIPO usage of the PCT-PPH is possible for American, Japanese and Korean PCT applications but not yet for European PCT applications.
The PPH is a system that allows the applicant to request fast-track examination in a country for an application that was judged patentable in another country using a simple procedure. With the PCT-PPH, it is possible to request fast-track examination based on judgment of patentability in a written opinion issued by the International Searching Authority, a written opinion issued by the International Preliminary Examining Authority or the international preliminary examination report. By using fast-track examination, the usual time necessary for patent examination (about 1 year to 2 years) can be reduced drastically (to about 2 months).
The APA has a lot of experience using the PPH based on information of patent registration at foreign patent offices. We invite you to make use of the examination highway using through the international PCT stage.