Two new Collaborative Search Pilot Programs (CSPs) are becoming available for patent applicants.
The CSP between the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Japanese Patent Office (JPO) became available on August 1, and the CSP with the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) becomes available September 1.
Both pilots will run for two years with the option to extend.
The CSPs allow applicants to expedite related patent applications at the three national patent offices.
The Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) is another program for speeding up the examination process for patent applications filed in participating foreign intellectual property offices. When an applicant receives a final ruling from a first patent office that at least one claim is allowed, the applicant can then request fast track examination of the corresponding claim(s) pending at a second office. There is no additional charge for the program and it’s available for countries including Japan and Korea.
In contrast to the PPH, the CSP program doesn’t require an applicant to secure an allowance first.
The CSPs allow the USPTO and the JPO/KIPO to separately perform prior art searches for pending patent applications and then share the results with the applicant before mailing a first action notice to the applicant.
The purpose of the program is to help the patent offices determine whether this information sharing will improve the examination process and make results more consistent.
US patent applications that participate in the CSPs will be given special status and examined sooner than regular applications.
For both CSPs, the following requirements apply:
- Applications must have no more than 20 total claims, no more than three independent claims, and no multiple dependent claims.
- Claims must all be directed to a single invention.
- The claims in the applications to the different offices must substantially correspond to each other.
- The common earliest priority date must be after March 16, 2013.
More information is available here.