Following a collaboration between the Japanese and US Patent Offices, which started in July last year, the UK Intellectual Property Office will be starting a similar "Patent Prosecution Highway" pilot programme with the JPO for one year as from July 2007.
The stated aim of the project is to "improve the quality of patents and the efficiency of processing applications at both offices". Applicants who have received an examination report from either office will be able to request accelerated examination for a corresponding application at the other office, provided they submit search and examination reports. For UK applicants, this may result in grant typically two years earlier than would normally be the case.
The IPKat wonders how many applicants will actually be wanting to take part in this worthwhile project. In his limited experience, applicants tend to want to delay the expensive process of getting a Japanese patent for as long as possible, not to do both at once. We shall wait and see what happens.
Does anyone know how the USPTO/JPO project is going?
More information is available from the UKIPO, JPO and USPTO.