Permanent Patent Prosecution Highway between US and Korea

After a one year pilot program, a permanent Patent Prosecution Highway (“PPH”) between the U.S. and Korea was implemented on January 29, 2009.

Under the PPH, an applicant receiving a ruling of patentability from either the U.S. patent office or the Korean patent office may request that the other office fast-track the examination of the corresponding application pending there.  The prosecution in the second office is then based on the patentable results obtained from the first office, reducing the workload for the second office.

John Doll, Acting Director of the USPTO said, “The pilot project has demonstrated that the Patent Prosecution Highway provides real benefits to both the USPTO and KIPO by eliminating redundant work, expediting processing and ensuring high quality of patents.”

While Japan and Korea are the only countries that have permanently implemented the PPH, pilot programs are in place with a number of other countries.  The foreign offices with which the U.S. has pilot PPH programs in place are United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office, Canada Intellectual Property Office, IP Australia, European Patent Office, Danish Patent and Trademark Office, and Intellectual Property Office of Singapore.

For companies with international patent portfolios, the PPH has the potential to reduce the cost of obtaining patent protection internationally. This is in addition to the benefit of obtaining patent protection more quickly in a number of countries.

By Vincent J. Allen

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