New Patent Prosecution Highway pilot agreement between the European Patent Office and the Canadian Intellectual Property Office

A new Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot agreement between the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) and the European Patent Office (EPO) will commence on January 6, 2015, for a period of three years, ending on January 5, 2018.

Under the new agreement, applicants whose claims have been found to be patentable by either the EPO or CIPO may request accelerated processing of their corresponding applications that are pending before the other office. A PPH request at CIPO can be made based on EPO national work products and EPO Patent Cooperation Treaty work products, such as the written opinion of the International Searching Authority (WO-ISA), the written opinion of the International Preliminary Examination Authority (WO-IPEA) and the International Preliminary Report on Patentability (IPRP). In order to be eligible for entry onto the CIPO–EPO PPH, the CIPO application must have been filed or have entered the national phase at CIPO on or after the start date of the pilot agreement.

This PPH pilot agreement allows applicants at CIPO and the EPO to obtain corresponding patents faster and more efficiently. The PPH agreement also permits CIPO and the EPO to benefit from work previously done by each other's patent office, in turn, reducing examination workload and improving patent quality.

CIPO's goal for all PPH agreements is to provide a first office action (allowance or first substantive report) within 90 days from receipt of the PPH request. CIPO has noted that approximately 40% of PPH applications are allowed without an office action, which is significantly higher than for non–PPH national applications (4.4%). This represents a savings of time and effort for both CIPO and our clients.

CIPO will continue to process requests for advanced prosecution under the PPH program, free of charge. Regular fees (Schedule II of the Patent Rules) for requesting examination will continue to apply.

Please note that CIPO may suspend its participation in the pilot agreement at any stage if the volume of participation exceeds a manageable level. Notice will be published if the PPH agreement is suspended.

For more information, visit the PPH webpage, or contact the PPH coordinator.

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