International Patent Application Co-Operation To Save UK Businesses Thousands
Industry: Legal Services
Baron Warren Redfern patent attorneys welcome the new development that could save UK businesses thousands in patent applications and infringement cases
United Kingdom (PRUnderground) October 10th, 2013
Plans for the world’s five big patent offices to work together could cut costs significantly for British companies wanting to protect their inventions abroad, says a UK Patent Attorney.
The so-called IP5 group, including the patent offices of Europe, the US, China, Japan and Korea, will launch a pilot co-operation scheme in January, which will allow for patent applications to be dealt with more quickly and cheaply in one office, if an equivalent patent has already been accepted at another.
The IP5 Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) will cut waiting times and repetition by allowing the application process in any of the territories to be accelerated. The pilot scheme was announced after a meeting of the heads of the five offices in Geneva last week.
Baron Warren Redfern partner Jerry Bridge-Butler welcomed the development, and said that it could really benefit British companies which focus on protecting their inventions in Europe, the US and China.
He explained: “As anyone who has applied to patent an invention in different parts of the world will know, it is a very long winded and complex process. This is particularly so when patent examiners take a different approach each time, leading to all kinds of alternative arguments for patentability having to be put forward at different times.
“The US patent office in particular will regularly reach a very different conclusion to that reached by the European patent office or the Chinese patent office.
“It is possible to accelerate the prosecution of any patent application already, but if applicants will now be able to formally do so on the basis of results elsewhere, then it could eliminate a large chunk of the work which would otherwise be involved, in particular if an accepted European patent application can lead to prompt acceptance of equivalent applications in the US and China.
“The costs of such foreign patent applications vary from case to case, but this new scheme could easily save our British clients several thousand pounds a time.”
Mr Bridge-Butler added that a Patent Prosecution Highway has been in existence between the European patent office and the US patent office for some years, but its take-up has been very low. “Hopefully, the addition of China, Japan and Korea into the mix will really encourage applicants to partake of the scheme, and either save money, or obtain greater geographic coverage for the same cost as before,” he said.
EPO President Benoit Battistelli welcomed the latest developments. He said: “I am pleased that the first ever all-inclusive PPH pilot programme is launched. It is a very promising step on the way of facilitating the life of users in five big economic regions that represent 85% of the patents granted in the world.
“The programme also allows the five offices to gain additional experience in utilising each other’s available work.”
According to an EPO spokesman: “Under the programme, applicants whose patent claims have been found to be patentable by one office may ask for accelerated processing of their corresponding applications pending before the other IP5 offices.
“Moreover, in carrying out the task the offices concerned will also exploit already existing work results to the extent practicable. Requests to use the PPH can be filed with any of the IP5 Offices.”
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Baron Warren Redfern are a leading firm of Patent and trademark Attorneys. Specialising in Patent applications and trademark infringement case.