IP Australia recently announced that it has joined a Global Patent Prosecution Highway (GPPH) pilot program.
Many will be aware that IP Australia and United States Patent and Trademark Office have participated in a Patent Prosecution Highway pilot programme since 2008. Under that programme, an applicant receiving a ruling from either the USPTO or IP Australia that at least one claim in a national application is allowable, could request that the other office fast track the examination of corresponding applications. Accelerated examination under the programme can save significant time ultimately providing applicants with certainty in their IP rights in a greatly shortened time frame.
The GPPH pilot program expands the opportunity for accelerated examination and includes the following IP Offices:
- Canadian Intellectual Property Office
- Danish Patent and Trademark Office
- National Board of Patents and Registration of Finland
- Japan Patent Office
- Korean Intellectual Property Office
- Nordic Patent Institute
- Norwegian Industrial Property Office
- Portuguese Institute of Industrial Property
- Russian Federal Service for Intellectual Property
- Spanish Patent and Trademark Office
- United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office
- United States Patent and Trademark Office
Further information can be obtained from IP Australia and the Japanese Patent Office websites.
While there is a gradual harmonisation of patent laws around the world, it should be noted that requesting accelerated examination may not always be appropriate. It will be best to seek advice before committing to any accelerated examination requests under the GPPH.