The European Patent Office (EPO) and the Intellectual Property Office of Australia have recently launched a bilateral Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) program which should allow accelerated prosecution of certain patent applications in Europe and Australia. This pilot program will run for an initial term of 3 years.
PPH programs generally allow one or more national or regional intellectual property offices to reuse the work product of another office in order to speed up examination. In particular, where the claims of an application have been found allowable in one jurisdiction, faster grant of a patent in relation to the same or similar claims in a corresponding application in another jurisdiction may be possible.
PPH programs are becoming increasingly popular because, for some applicants, the standard patent examination procedure can appear to be very slow. This is particularly apparent when compared to other IP rights, such as trade marks or registered designs, which may proceed to registration within a matter of months. In Europe, for example, it commonly takes around 3 to 5 years for a patent application to proceed to either grant or final refusal. Indeed, many European applications last even longer, with around 5% of applications taking up to 12 years until completion.
The majority of applicants are happy with this slow pace of examination because it allows the costs of prosecution to be spread over many years. It can also keep potentially weaker applications pending for longer, acting as a deterrent to competitors.
Nevertheless, there are times when fast grant of a patent is desired. For example, this may be important if the applicant knows of an infringer and wishes to take legal action swiftly. Alternatively, a granted patent can be a useful tool for leveraging investment in a company.
There are already several specific PPH programs for applicants to choose from. Under the PCT-PPH program, for example, accelerated prosecution in many countries may be based on a positive written opinion achieved during the international phase of an international (PCT) patent application. The IP5 PPH program also allows acceleration of applications relating to claims allowed by one of the European, Japanese, Korean, Chinese and US patent offices. A similar program, the Global PPH, operates on a larger scale and covers countries such as Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Korea, the UK and the US.
The EPO does not currently take part in the GPPH program and is instead negotiating bilateral agreements with individual countries, as with Australia. For example, the EPO began similar bilateral PPH programs with Canada, Israel, Mexico and Singapore in 2015.
By Michael Ford, Alistair Hindle Associates
For further information regarding the various PPH programs or other ways to accelerate prosecution of patent applications, please contact your usual attorney at Alistair Hindle Associates.
With its thriving business community and entrepreneurial culture, it’s no surprise that Scotland is host to several inspiring summits. Today, more than ever, there is a real sense that Scotland is at the forefront of innovation and emerging technology in a global playing field. Bringing emerging talent together with experienced entrepreneurs and business experts, these events are invaluable as they enable high-growth businesses to develop their strengths and address their challenges. Below are three of the best still to come this year:
Date: 1st September
Location: Glasgow Science Centre
The Venturefest Network works closely with Innovate UK, the Knowledge Transfer Network and additional partners to facilitate connections between innovators, investors and entrepreneurs. Venturefest 2016 provides a platform where SMEs in Scotland can share expertise and network. It also provides advice on how to attract funding and investment and the option to meet experts to discuss specific business issues.
Speakers include Chris van der Kuyl, chairman of 4J Studios, Keith Brown, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work and Kevin Baughan, Chief Development Officer, Innovate UK.
Sessions include how to create the perfect pitch, safeguarding against cyber-security and how to maximise opportunities within your supply chain.
Click here for more information
2. Opportunity Knocks Scotland
Date: 22nd September
Opportunity Knocks is a collaborative venture that tours the UK, bringing entrepreneurs and business experts together. It’s arriving in Edinburgh in September and promises to provide insight into the challenges facing SMEs and help navigate their way through any choppy waters.
As well as bringing a raft of inspirational speakers to the table, Opportunity Knocks also provides the chance to see a live pitching competition and to attend practical seminars on crowd-funding, pitching and growth finance.
Speakers include Brian McGuire, Managing Director, Visioncall Group and Dougal Sharp, Founder of Innes & Gunn Brewing Company.
Click here to find out more and book your tickets
3. Start-up Summit (WeAreTheFuture)
Date: 14th November
WeAreTheFuture started up five years ago to help aspiring entrepreneurs. Having already hosted events which have helped nearly 5,000 entrepreneurs, they’re coming to Edinburgh in November. They’re expecting over 1000 attendees to attend, as well as over 20,000 to watch sessions online via their partnership with the Disruptive Innovation Festival (DIF). They’ve committed to binging in a host of entrepreneurs, investors and media from across the globe with speakers confirmed from San Francisco and Hong Kong.
Tickets are currently on sale here, with their 2 for 1 tickets ending on the 31st August.
Click here or call +44 (0) 131 243 0660 to speak to one of our attorneys directly for more information on how Alistair Hindle Associates can help innovators and entrepreneurs.