The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) has entered into agreements with the Japan Patent Office(JPO), the Danish Patent and Trademark Office(DKPTO) and the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) to launch two-year pilot Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) programs, each commencing October 1, 2009.
These pilot programs can be compared to the PPH pilot program between CIPO and the United States Patent and Trademark Office initiated on January 28, 2008 and extended for a period of two years ending on January 28, 2011.
The PPH program provides for significantly accelerated examination of patent applications by CIPO if examination work has already been conducted at the other intellectual property office. Under the PPH, if claims of an application have been found to be acceptable by the other intellectual property office, an accelerated examination can be requested at CIPO (assuming that the Canadian examination has not yet commenced). Each Canadian patent application will be examined in accordance with the Canadian Patent Act and Rules and CIPO's Patent Office Practice.
During the pilot program, CIPO will process requests for accelerated prosecution under the PPH program free of charge. CIPO will consider what, if any, fees should apply for this service if it later becomes permanent. Regular fees for requesting examination will continue to apply during the PPH pilot.
PPH programs can not only accelerate examination, but can also lead to lower prosecution costs for applicants, because patent claims already allowed by one patent office can be reused in a corresponding application in a participating PPH country. Patent applicants who have an application allowed in one country should consider whether any PPH programs are available to facilitate allowance of corresponding applications in other countries.
The procedures and requirements for filing a request to CIPO for participation in the PPH program are available from the CIPO PPH website.