The IPKat has just spotted a press release that has appeared on the UK-IPO website today under the heading 'Patent Highway between the UK and USA opens today'. The text reads, in relevant part:
The IPKat hopes that the results of the current pilot schemes will prove sufficiently positive for the launch of a multilateral initiative to replace the web of bilaterals that might otherwise evolve. Merpel adds, it's strange that so little is known about applicant demand at this late stage of the day.
"A 12 month pilot scheme launched today will speed up processing patent applications in the UK and the United States of America.
The Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) will allow patent applicants who have received an examination report by either the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK-IPO) or the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to request accelerated examination of a corresponding patent application filed in the other country.
The aim of the pilot is to test applicant demand for this additional option for speeding up examination of patent applications and to quantify the quality and efficiency gains to be expected.
The pilot scheme with the USPTO follows an earlier PPH agreement with the Japan Patent Office established earlier this year.
Left: So long as the highway remains a swift, direct route, patent applicants will be just fine
... Patent applicants will be required to submit search and examination reports prepared by the other patent office in order qualify for accelerated treatment".
USPTO information on the PPH here
UK-Japan PPH here
What the Trilateral Cooperation website says here