PPH (Patent Prosecution Highway) is a set of initiatives for providing accelerated patent prosecution procedures by sharing information between some patent offices. It also permits each participating patent office to benefit from the work previously done by the other patent office, with the goal of reducing examination workload and improving patent quality. Specifically, when one or more claims contained in a patent application filed with the Office of First Filing (OFF) is / are deemed as patentable, its applicant may submit a request for accelerating examination to the Office of Second Filing (OSF) on this basis.
A PPH request can be filed
- after publication of the Chinese application;
- after the Chinese application enters substantive examination stage;
- together with the substantive examination request;
- before receiving an office action made by substantive examination department;
- with at most two opportunities.
In deciding the best timing to file PPH request, consideration shall also be given to the timing of voluntary amendment to correspond with the one or more of those claim(s) determined to be patentable/allowable in the corresponding application. In China, voluntary amendment shall be made at the same time of requesting substantive examination, or within three months after receipt of the notification on entering substantive examination, which is even more critical than the timing of filing PPH request.
Documents required to file a PPH Request:
- FORM – A PPH Request FORM;
- OA – Copies of all OFFICE ACTIONS issued against the corresponding application and the Chinese or English translations thereof;
- CLAIMS – Copies of all claims deemed as patentable by OFF and the Chinese translations thereof;
- CITATIONS – Copies of the non-patent documents cited by OFF Examiners