The USPTO always also points out that PPH agreements increase patent quality. That is likely true, but probably not as directly as you might expect. As far as I can tell the benefit to quality comes as the result of primarily three things. First, it takes less time to examine a patent application that has arrived to the Office of Second Filing (OSF) because allowable matter has already been identified somewhere else, which substantially focuses the prosecution of these applications. Second, by requiring less time on some applications there will be more time for other applications, at least in theory. Finally, there is no doubt a self-selection that goes on from the applicants side, which means better patent applications, and the overwhelming number of those using the PPH accept the claims they get and do not circle back for more claims, or broader claims, with supplemental filings.
1.3 billion people simply cannot be ignored, that much is certainly true. In my experience, however, when potentially ridiculous sums of money are at issue people, including otherwise shrewd business executives, suddenly seem to lose double digit points off their IQ. Believing that you can successfully navigate the potentially treacherous waters of doing business with China without careful planning and competent, experienced counsel is simply naive.
Many people situated variously within and outside of the patent system of the United States urged the adoption of first-to-file. There are, however, many questions about the scope and possible impact of the AIA. Exactly how it will all play out remains to be seen. A significant question is what will be the likely impact of the AIA upon the operations of the USPTO, an organization that has been so greatly over-burdened in recent times. Anyone interested in reading this is likely old enough to have heard the old saying “Be careful what you wish for – you may get it.” Now we have it.
In view of the growing need for innovator companies to obtain patent protection in multiple Patent Office around the world simultaneously, leaders of the most heavily used patent regimes continue to seek ways to streamline the process and engage in work sharing. Heads of the European Patent Office (EPO), the Japan Patent Office (JPO) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) – collectively known as the Trilateral Offices – pushed forward earlier this week with efforts to further harmonize global patent systems. The Trilateral Offices agreed on steps to enhance efficiency in patent-related procedures.
Under the Paris Route PPH pilot program, an Office of Second Filing (OSF) may utilize the search and examination results of a national application filed in the Office of First Filing (OFF) in a corresponding application filed under the Paris Convention in the OSF. The PCT-PPH pilot program will use positive international written opinions and international preliminary examination reports developed within the framework of the Patent Cooperation Treaty.
As the second largest economy in the world, China is emerging to the center of the world’s economic stage. This emergence has been accompanied by constant changes in its legal and economic sectors. The intellectual property sector also has witnessed numerous recent changes. There have been significant new advances in China’s national innovation policies. New trends in Chinese patent filings have emerged. A growing number of Chinese companies are creating their own IP and increasingly filing infringement suits against foreign companies and their local competitors in China. China’s third patent law amendment has materially changed patent practice and procedures in that country.
The appeal of the PCT process is that it enables patent applicants to file a single patent application and have that single, uniform patent application be treated as an initial application for patent in any Member Country. This single, uniform patent application is what is referred to as the international application. Filing an international patent application to start the patent process can frequently be a wise move if you are contemplating securing patent rights in multiple countries. It is, however, important to understand that obtaining international patent protection is not cheap. It is also important to understand that the international patent application you file will not mature into an international patent.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) released two Federal Register Notices on October 7, 2011, seeking written comments and announcing two public hearings for two studies the agency is required to conduct under the America Invents Act. Specifically, Congress is requiring the USPTO to study and report on the availability of prior user rights in foreign countries as well as options to aid small businesses and independent inventors in securing patent protection for their inventions. The USPTO reports for both studies are due in mid-January 2012.
A PCT application doesn’t automatically lead to global patent protection. Instead, you eventually need to apply for patents in each of the countries and regions where you wish to pursue patent protection. This involves filing separate applications at the “national stage”, which occurs 30 months (31 months in some countries) after the priority application’s filing date.
Hardly a month passes without there being yet another Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) announcement from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The PPH is lauded by the USPTO with great frequency, and for good reason. But what exactly is the PPH and how do you use it to your benefit? Through the end of June 2011 there have been only 6,657 PPH requests, with upwards of 40,000 registered and practicing patent attorneys or agents in the United States, which means there is not a lot of collective experience with the PPH despite the obvious advantages.
According to INSEAD, Switzerland is the most innovative country in the world, gaining three spots from its position in last year’s GII. Sweden and Singapore follow in the 2nd and 3rd positions, respectively. This year’s rankings include six European economies (including Finland 5th, Denmark 6th, the Netherlands 9th and the United Kingdom 10th), two Asian (including Hong Kong, SAR, China 4th) and two North American economies (the United States 7th and Canada 8th) in the top 10.
The EPO was ranked first for patent quality among the world’s five largest patent offices for the second consecutive year in a survey of corporate and private practice IP professionals conducted jointly by Thomson Reuters and Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) magazine. The annual benchmarking survey, published in the June issue of the magazine, finds that the EPO leads by a wide margin in terms of perceived patent quality, and has even improved its position over last year.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office has just announced the expansion of the PCT-PPH pilot program with the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), as well as two new PPH pilot programs; a new pilot project for the Patent Prosecution Highway with the Nordic Patent Institute (NPI) based on NPI’s Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) work products and a new pilot project for the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) with the Israel Patent Office (ILPO).
IP concerns range from highbrow to hilarious. It’s time to wake up, do your due diligence, and make sure you have the comprehensive IP protection you need in place when you start a business so you can stay on track creatively without fear of being derailed. Securing IP protection should now be at the top of your “to-do” list – not just an afterthought.
PPH will permit each office to benefit from the PCT work previously done by the other office, which reduces the examination workload and improves patent quality. The expedited examination in each office allows applicants to obtain corresponding patents faster and more efficiently in each country. The PCT-PPH program will use international written opinions and international preliminary examination reports developed within the framework of the Patent Cooperation Treaty.