By Marcus Leach

A new pilot scheme, increasing the flexibility of the Patent Prosecution Highway will provide more support for UK businesses operating in the US and Japan.

The Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) is an existing scheme that can speed up the process of getting patents granted in participating countries. It gives applicants who have received a favourable decision by a first examining office the opportunity to request an accelerated examination at another office.

The new ‘Mottainai’ pilot will help ease the process by relaxing requirements around priority and timing of application. Previously, patent applications have only been eligible for the PPH if they met strict requirements relating to the order in which they were filed and the priority which they claimed.

Offices participating in the pilot programme will relax these requirements so that applicants may benefit from the PPH regardless of the order in which their applications were filed or the priority claimed.

‘Mottainai’ is a Japanese term meaning ‘a sense of regret concerning waste when the intrinsic value of an object or resource is not properly utilised.’

“The Patent Prosecution Highway can significantly speed up the often lengthy process of gaining a patent and help minimise the associated costs to the applicant. It also helps to reduce patent backlogs by minimising the duplication of work carried out by offices," Minister for Intellectual Property Baroness Wilcox said.

“Relaxing the priority requirements will provide greater opportunity and flexibility for businesses to take advantage of quicker and cheaper international patent protection. A greater use of the PPH will also improve the efficiency of participating offices and help contribute to granting high quality patents.”

The ‘Mottainai’ pilot programme will involve the Intellectual Property Office’s PPH agreements with the Japanese Patent Office (JPO) and the US Patents and Trade Marks Office (USPTO). The pilot will run for an initial one year period until 14 July 2012.

Join us on
Follow @freshbusiness