USPTO Eliminates Patent Prosecution Highway Petition Fee

by Brian Fletcher on May 20, 2010

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced it would eliminate the fee for the petition to participate in Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) programs. The elimination of the PPH petition fee is expected to encourage greater PPH participation by patent applicants.

Since 2006, the USPTO has implemented Patent Prosecution Highway programs with a number of patent offices as part of work sharing arrangements to avoid duplication of work among patent offices, and for reducing its own pendency and backlog. Until now, the PPH notices have indicated that a request for participation in the PPH program required the payment of a $130 petition fee.

“Patent Prosecution Highway programs have great potential to reduce unnecessary duplication of work between offices, reduce pendency and improve quality,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos. “By eliminating the petition fee, we expect to see more applicants take advantage of PPH.”

PPH applications have proven to take significantly less time to prosecute, on average, than non-PPH applications. Using the PPH process also increases the sharing and re-use of information (primarily search and examination results) between the USPTO and its partner patent offices. Improving the PPH framework to make it more user-friendly, and thereby encouraging greater participation by applicants, would support the Office’s goal to optimize both the quality and timeliness of patents.

Since 2006, the USPTO has entered into PPH agreements with the patent offices of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan, Korea, Singapore, The United Kingdom and the European Patent Office (EPO).

Under the PPH program, if an application filed in an Office of First Filing (OFF) receives an indication that at least one claim is patentable, a corresponding application with corresponding claims filed in the USPTO as the Office of Second Filing (OSF) may be advanced out of turn for examination. To have the request for participation in the PPH accepted in the USPTO, an applicant must make available to the USPTO the relevant work of the OFF as well as any necessary translation.

Notices regarding the PPH programs are available on the USPTO Web site here.

{ 1 comment }

Gena777 May 25, 2010 at 2:11 pm

It seems that the reality of the USPTO’s dire situation has muted those voices that used to scream that efforts at harmonization meant surrendering to the Europeans, or something to that effect. International worksharing is sorely needed, and is merely a reality of our increasingly global economy. It has the potential to improve every aspect of patent law, from filing to patent enforcement. Eliminating the petition fee may be largely symbolic but it certainly can’t hurt. I’m glad to see that common sense is prevailing. And I’m also glad to see Kappos being so conscientious and capable.

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