T 1024/18 – Another turn of events for description amendments
This decision appears to bring description amendments back to the established norm.
Following a successful 6-year pilot scheme, the European Patent Office (EPO) and IP Australia have agreed to make their patent prosecution highway (PPH) programme permanent as of 1 July 2022. The agreement applies to both PCT applications and priority-claiming direct national applications.
Under the PPH programme, an applicant can seek accelerated examination of their application with one office if the corresponding application at the other office has been found to be allowable. This is achieved by the office at which PPH is requested taking advantage of the work already done by the other office. The PPH also offers the possibility of reducing costs for applicants as applications due to the reduced prosecution.
The EPO runs a number of other PPH schemes, including with the other IP5 offices (the 5 largest IP offices in the world); Japan, China, USA and Korea, along with the IP offices in Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, the Philippines, Singapore and Saudi Arabia.
PPH provides a useful route for achieving overseas protection quickly. However, it does limit the flexibility for different scopes of protection in different countries. As always, advice on patent filing strategy should be sought to ensure the best approach for your needs is achieved.
If you have any questions regarding international protection for your inventions, please get in touch to speak to one of our patent attorneys.