Patent Prosecution Highway Pilot Schemes Extended
The US, Japanese and European patent offices have announced their agreement to extend their trilateral patent prosecution highway (PPH) pilot schemes, which were due to expire on 28 January 2012. In addition, the PCT-PPH scheme for international applications has also been extended by two years for the cases where the EPO, JPO or USPTO are either the search or examining body.
In brief, these schemes allow applicants to accelerate prosecution of an application at any of these patent offices if one of the other offices indicates that the same claims are allowable. As a result they are a very useful tool for applicants filing in the big three patent regions to get their applications granted more quickly.