Patent Prosecution Highway Update
We thought it would be appropriate to provide a brief update on the status of the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) program. The PPH program, which allows patent applicants to fast-track examination in multiple patent offices, continues to expand globally.
Background of PPH
The PPH is actually a collection of agreements and programs enabling patent applicants who receive a positive patentability opinion in one participating patent office to request accelerated examination of corresponding applications in other participating offices. This allows applicants to obtain patents faster and more efficiently across multiple jurisdictions.
More patent offices are signing on to participate in PPH agreements. As of October 2023, there are PPH agreements between the IP5 Offices (IP Australia, European Patent Office, Japan Patent Office, Korean Intellectual Property Office, United States Patent and Trademark Office), as well as agreements with other major patent offices including Canada, China, Israel, Mexico, Russia, Singapore and the United Kingdom. Several more offices have PPH agreements pending.
The PPH program has reduced duplication of work among participating patent offices. Examiners can leverage searches and examinations already conducted by their peers, avoiding redundant efforts. Applicants also benefit from faster prosecution and reduced costs.
Recent data shows the PPH continues to gain traction. According to the USPTO, over 15,000 U.S. applications benefited from the PPH in fiscal year 2022. The USPTO reports the following cumulative USPTO PPH Data for All Regions:
- 89,043 Total Applications with Petitions
- 79,757 Total Applications with Petitions Granted
The EPO reports over 35,000 PPH requests filed since 2006, with over 90% of requests granted. China has also seen dramatic growth, from just 476 PPH requests in 2017 to over 5,000 in 2021.
While usage is still not significant compared to total volumes of applications, this quick update on the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) suggests that it looks poised for continued expansion worldwide. With more patent offices participating, applicants will be able to streamline prosecution across key global markets more seamlessly than ever. For patent practitioners, it is clear the PPH has become an indispensable tool for efficiently obtaining multi-jurisdictional patent protection.