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Patent Examination Co - Operation with US

Written by Christina King on 11 September 2007

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Following on from the agreement earlier this year between the UK and Japanese Patent Offices regarding the accelerated examination of patent applications, The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has recently announced a similar agreement with the US Patent Office.

The agreements, known as the Patent Prosecution Highway, are aimed at developing work sharing arrangement for patent applications as recommended by the Gower Report. Under the agreements applicants who have received a patent examination report from the UKIPO will be able to use this to request accelerated examination for applications made in Japan or the US and vice versa.

Regarding the above initiative Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Intellectual Property and Quality, Lord Triesman, is reported to have stated:

"The Patent Prosecution Highway with the US Patent and Trademark Office builds on a similar pilot scheme with the Japan Patent Office which is already showing great promise.

"The Patent Prosecution Highway agreement between the UK-IPO and the USPTO will enhance the operational efficiency of both agencies and improve patent quality. The agreement will help to efficiently and effectively safeguard inventors' intellectual property and help to stimulate innovation on a national and international scale. The PPH will further enhance the UK-IPO's reputation for delivering a high quality, cost effective service and is a valuable addition to the services offered at the UK-IPO"

The US scheme will operate as a pilot project for 12 months so as to test demand and measure the benefits in terms of quality and efficiency.

The US Patent Office also has a similar scheme already in place with Japan. Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Jon Dudas, has been quoted as saying “Patent users worldwide want offices to cooperate more effectively. Our collective goal is to reduce duplication of work, speed up processing, and improve quality.”

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