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US, Iceland Introduce Patent Pilot

by Glen Shapiro,, New York

07 December 2011

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has announced a new pilot project for the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) with the Icelandic Patent Office (IPO).

The PPH will permit each office to benefit from work previously done by the other office, which reduces the examination workload and improves patent quality. The expedited examination in each office allows applicants to obtain corresponding patents faster and more efficiently in each country.

Under the PPH pilot programme, an Office of Second Filing (OSF) may utilize the search and examination results of a national application filed in the Office of First Filing in a corresponding application filed under the Paris Convention in the OSF.

Its Director General Borghildur Erlingsdóttir stated the IPO is “very pleased with the PPH agreement concluded with the USPTO and looks forward to close cooperation in this respect. The PPH program is not only valuable for our customers but also for the office and our role in addressing growing backlogs and the need for increased work-sharing cooperation between offices.”

“We are excited by this new work-sharing programme and welcome the IPO to this new cooperative framework,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos. “This PPH program further expands the PPH network and gives our stakeholders more opportunities to access the benefits of improved timeliness of examination and greater patent quality.”

Under the PPH, an applicant receiving a ruling from the IPO that at least one claim in an application is patentable may request that the USPTO fast track the examination of corresponding claims in corresponding applications. Similarly, if the USPTO determines that at least one claim is patentable, the applicant may request accelerated processing of corresponding applications filed at the IPO.

The purpose of the trial programme is to gauge the interest of applicants, and to determine if the programme improves quality and efficiency and reduces the workload at the USPTO as well as IPO. The trial period started on December 1, 2011, and is set to expire on November 30, 2012, but may be extended for up to one year or terminated earlier depending on volume of activity and other factors. The offices will provide notice of any adjustment in the trial period.

TAGS: business | patents | Iceland | law | intellectual property | patent highway | patent search | United States

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