The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has forged another patent examination deal with a foreign country ... this time Australia. The release says:
Washington, D.C. – The Commerce Department’s U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Intellectual Property Office of Australia (IP Australia) today announced that they will launch a new trial cooperation initiative called the Patent Prosecution Highway in April. The Patent Prosecution Highway will leverage fast-track patent examination procedures already available in both offices to allow applicants in both countries to obtain corresponding patents faster and more efficiently. It also will permit each office to benefit from work previously done by the other office, in turn reducing examination workload and improving patent quality.
This pilot project with IP Australia builds on the success of a pilot with the Japan Patent office, which was made permanent in January. Pendency to first action was substantially reduced in many cases relative to the normal pendency in the particular technology area.
Under the Patent Prosecution Highway, an applicant receiving a ruling from either IP Australia or the USPTO that at least one claim in an application is patentable may request that the other office fast track the examination of corresponding claims in corresponding applications. Full requirements for participation in the trial program can be found at www.uspto.gov/web/patents/pph/pph_ipau.html and http://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/patents/international/pph_uspto.shtml.