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European Patent Office (hereinafter “EPO”) had launched the Patent Prosecution Highway (hereinafter “PPH”) program on July 1st, 2017 . The PPH Pilot Program is part of the agreement made between Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (hereinafter “IPOPHL”), Director General Atty. Josephine R. Santiago and EPO President, Benoit Battistelli on 5 October 2016  at the sidelines of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) General Assembly. The EPO and the IPOPHL announced on 10 October 2016  their intention to launch a comprehensive Patent Prosecution Highway pilot program.The PPH pilot program between the EPO and IPOPHL starting from 1st July 2017will run for three years ending on 30 June 2020 .
What is Patent Prosecution Highway Pilot Program?
Patent Prosecution Highway is a global work-sharing framework that allows patent applicants, whose applications have been considered allowable by a patent office, to request the preferential examination of the corresponding applications in another patent office based on the examination results issued by a PPH office . Patent applicants follow a simple procedure when making the request. Another aspect of this program that eases the prosecution process of patent applications is that another Intellectual Property Office in conducting substantive examination in the corresponding applications can use work products from one Intellectual Property Office as reference. In other words, PPH leverages on the fast-track patent examination procedures already available in the IP Offices to allow applicants to obtain corresponding patents faster and more efficiently.
Under the IPOPHL-EPO PPH Pilot Program, the patent applications, which are prosecuted under the PPH Program, shall be subject to certain guidelines present in IPOPHL MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO.17-007 . The patent applicants and their agents who desire to make use of this program had to file the duly accomplished Request Form and Claim Correspondence Table present in the Annex B of the circular . This is the minimum requirement for the processing of a PPH Request.
Under this program, patent applicants should file the claims which have been found patentable either by the IPOPHL or by EPO andmay ask for preferential examination of their corresponding patent applications at the former IP Office after following a simple procedure and with minimal documentary requirements. This PPH Program is available for national and PCT applications.
The PPH Program has 45 participating countries worldwide. The IPOPHL became a member of the PPH network on February 2012 when it signed its first PPH agreement with the Japan Patent Office (JPO).The IPOPHL now has bilateral PPH agreements with the JPO, USPTO, KIPO and EPO .
About the Author: Shilpi Saxena, Jr. Patent Associate at Khurana & Khurana Advocates and IP Attorneys can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.