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The PPH fast-track for patents: This is how it works

08. december 2016

The Patent Prosecution Highway – PPH – speeds up the examination process to provide a fast-track in patent grant procedures. This is how it works, in case you want results faster.

For you as a patent applicant, there are various objectives for filing one or more patent applications. If you represent a start-up company, you may focus on protecting your key technology to better attract future investors or business partners. If you represent a small/medium enterprise, you may continuously focus on protecting new inventions from your R&D department to facilitate a continuous growth of your company.

In either case, you may not necessarily want the application process to proceed at maximum speed. For some patent applicants, it can even be an advantage to maintain a “patent pending”-status for a long period to have sufficient time to establish the full potential of the invention or to postpone the expenses.

When speed is essential
On the other hand, you may see it as an advantage to obtain a fast grant through a rapid examination process. For instance:

  • If the development in the technical field, in which you operate, moves rapidly
  • If a grant is required to attract potential investors
  • If you require a strong position in the market in relation to your competitors
  • If you require certainty in relation to the scope and status of your IPR portfolio.

In these cases, the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) can speed up the process. The PPH-system has been established to benefit patent applicants by providing a fast-track in patent grant procedures on a global scale.

At present, both bilateral and global PPH-agreements exist. The Global PPH agreement has been implemented during the recent years, but already contains 21 countries from around the world, such as Denmark, the USA, Japan, Korea, Germany and the United Kingdom.

This is how PPH works
In short, the PPH-agreements function by allowing one or more patent applications in a patent family to take advantage of a positive opinion already issued by a patent office for another patent application in the patent family.

For example, you may have filed a Danish patent application at the Danish PTO. Within one year, your application is continued as an international application (PCT) and before the end of 30/31 months from filing the Danish patent application, the application is filed in the relevant countries and regions around the world in which you aim to get a granted patent right (i.e. DK— PCT— US + KR + JP + etc.).

If, before the end of 30/31 months from filing the Danish patent application, the examination of your initial Danish or your international patent application has resulted in a positive opinion from the patent office(s) (i.e. at least one claim allowable), you may use this opinion to expedite the examination of your patent in the relevant countries and regions in which your application is to be continued as the relevant patent offices will consider the positive opinion.

Contact us to learn more
The relevance of the PPH-system for your company and patent applications depends on many factors. Please contact Chas. Hude A/S to discuss if the PPH-system is an advantage for your company and your current needs.