July 11, 2011
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently announced an expansion of the Patent Prosecution Highway opportunity in coordination with the patent offices of Canada, Japan, Australia, Finland, Russia, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
The Patent Prosecution Highway is an international cooperative program coordinated among various worldwide patent offices. Under the program in its present form, an application with claims that have been determined to be patentable in the patent office where the application was first filed is eligible to go through an accelerated examination in other offices.
Among other changes under the expanded program, an applicant may request accelerated examination on the basis of results available on any patent family member from any participating office, not merely from the office where the application was first filed. This may lead to significant cost and strategic advantages for those Fitch Even clients who prosecute applications internationally.
The expanded Patent Prosecution Highway will be offered as a pilot program beginning on July 15, 2011. As scheduled, the program will operate for a period of one year, although the USPTO indicates that the program may be extended up to an additional year or terminated early, depending on volume of usage and other circumstances.
For more information, please contact Fitch Even partner Steven G. Parmelee.