An inventor filing a patent in a participating country may be eligible to take part of the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH). The United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) implemented the PPH in 2006 with a number of other patent offices in an effort to reduce duplication efforts and to accelerate the examination process. As part of the PPH, the USPTO uses the search and examination results from other intellectual property offices in their own examination. Notably, in 2010 the USPTO eliminated the fee to participate in the PPH program.
If an applicant files a patent application in a participating country (first filing office), they may be able to accelerate their United States application (second filing office) once a claim is allowed by the first filing office. To request entry in the PPH, the claims in both offices must be substantially similar, the applicant must provide copies of allowable claims, submit copies of all actions from first filing office with allowable claims, submit an information disclosure sheet and copies of documents, and file a request for PPH participation with the USPTO and any English translations, if necessary.
Once a PPH request is granted, examination typically occurs within two to three months. This provides for accelerated examination by the USPTO, which is constantly trying to reduce their backlog of patent applications. The USPTO is currently utilizing the PPH in all technical areas. Historically, the PPH has resulted in double the allowance rate of non-PPH users.
The PPH provides lower examination costs to applicants and allows businesses to quickly build an intellectual property portfolio. For a detailed explanation of the PPH, visit the PPH website. If you have additional questions about the PPH and participating countries, contact the patent attorneys at Assouline & Berlowe, P.A.
Greg M. Popowitz
Registered Patent Attorney
Intellectual Property Litigation
213 East Sheridan Street, Suite 3
Dania Beach, Florida 33004
Miami • Ft. Lauderdale • Boca Raton