U.S. Works With Canada, Korea To Improve Patent Process

Canadian or Korean applicants that have at least one patentable claim can request rapid examination by the U.S. The agreement is reciprocal.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office said it will work with its Canadian and Korean counterparts to improve the efficiency of patent examinations.

The USPTO announced two pilot projects that extend international cooperation for the Patent Prosecution Highway. The USPTO will work with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) and the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) to allow applicants to obtain corresponding patents faster in each country.

The agreement, similar to one with Japan, will allow each office to benefit from work done in other offices. That should decrease examiners' workloads and improve patent quality, according to the USPTO.

"Office-to-office cooperation is a cornerstone of efforts to manage workload," Under Secretary of Commerce for intellectual property and director of the USPTO Jon Dudas said in a statement. "As it expands, the Patent Prosecution Highway network will increasingly contribute to streamlining the global patent system and, in the process, allow patent offices to achieve efficiency gains and higher patent quality by leveraging each other's work."

With the Patent Prosecution Highway, applicants whose Canadian or Korean applications are deemed to have at least one patentable claim can request rapid examination by the USPTO. The agreement is reciprocal.

The pilot programs were established in an attempt to measure patent applicants' interest and to improve efficiency. The agreement with Canada and Korea expires Jan. 28, 2009, but it may be extended a year or terminated early.

"More effective cooperation between our two offices will benefit patent applicants worldwide," Mary Carman, CIPO CEO, commissioner of patents, and registrar of trademarks, said in a statement. "Our collective goal is to reduce duplication of examination work, speed up processing, and improve patent quality."

KIPO commissioner Sang-Woo Jun said the pilot program will help improve efficiency and the quality of examinations in all three countries.

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