Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) : The Fast Track Examination Procedure

Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) is an initiative that accelerates the examination procedure of corresponding applications that are filed in the other patent offices.

PPH is a framework in which an application determined to be patentable in one office can have express examination process when a corresponding application is made with the other offices.

The patent examination involves a lot of procedural steps that are replicated many times in the entire patent registration process. It is commonly noticed that inventors or owners of patent want the process to be completed as early as possible.

And, hence for reducing the examination workload, the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) was introduced, and various patent offices started sharing examination and search results among them.

What is Patent Prosecution Highway?

Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) is an effective way of accelerating the examination procedure by sharing your positive patent search and examination results with the other patent office in which you want to file a patent application.

Through PPH many patent applicants and the patent office can benefit, as any examination process carried out by any patent office can be shared with the other patent office and can reduce the workload of an examiner.

It is a way of simplifying the examination process which otherwise would have taken up a; lot of time as well as resources of the patent office which could have been employed in other application that is pending with the patent office or examiner.

Fast-Track Patent Prosecution

Some of the global patent prosecution offices on their own initiative can offer fast track-patent prosecution to the applicant if they think that the application has the potential of obtaining a grant of patents.

PPH Process

Patent prosecution in the second office can be accelerated by submitting the positive results obtained through the first examination process in the patent office. Hence the process has the capability of stimulating the examination process for the second application.

The PPH process also has 2 types:

  • PPH based on domestic or national work products
  • PPH based on PCT work Products

Benefits of PPH Application

  • PPH application can be a route to a productive and faster examination process of patent applications.
  • A patent application has a higher acceptance rate of the claims that are submitted with the patent office after the prior art search.
  • The cost of a patent application is likely to decrease as the other patent offices are going to use the examination and search report conducted before.
Note: Applicants who want to delay the patent prosecution to establish an invention for commercial exploitation

Implementing the Patent Prosecution Highway(PPH) in India

Indian Patent Office in order to implement PPH and form a treaty with the Japan Patent Office has introduced draft rules so that they can introduce the patent prosecution highway in the patent filing and examination process.

Patent office and the DIPP has now circulated draft patent rules so that they can further classify and regulate the norms for more accessible patent examination in India. The criteria include streamlining the process of examination for startups and females that apply for a patent either alone or with another applicant.

Note: The draft Patent rules are available for comments from the general public by the DIPP.

Section 8 of the Patents Act

The patent act clearly prescribes that the applicant at any point of time files an application in a foreign office for the same or substantially same invention will have to notify the controller of patents within the prescribed limit.

The applicant is also under an obligation for providing detailed information in writing to the controller from time to time about any other application filed outside India.

Note: The patent office made these request so that they are aware of the prosecution in other patent offices in regards to that particular invention.

PCT Patent Prosecution Highway (PCT-PPH)

Indian Patent Regime started with the PCT-PPH on 29th January 2010 as a pilot programme. The programme helped or enabled fast-track patent examination for all PCT application. The Fast-track procedure on the application entirely depends upon the positive feedback received on the claims.

In these particular PCT applications, the office of second filing can use and rely on the search and examination process of first filing office, which eventually decreases the examination process time and expedite the filing process for patents.

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