Posted on 6/12/2013

Fast track for patents in China

This week the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) signed an important Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) agreement with the Chinese State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO). The agreement will allow examination of patent applications in China to be fast tracked where claims of a corresponding UK patent application have been accepted.

Whilst the agreement offers the promise of quicker and, potentially, cheaper grant of patents in China this will be dependent on obtaining early allowance of a corresponding patent application in the UK. As SIPO is already one of the quicker national IP offices, to take real advantage of the PPH agreement it will be necessary to seek accelerated processing of a corresponding UK patent application. Fortunately, the UKIPO has arrangements in place which permit relatively rapid processing of a patent application as of right. However, it’s always worth giving thought to whether or not obtaining early grant of a patent is commercially the best option, given that it brings forward costs as well as a decision on allowability of the application, which could not be favourable.

The UKIPO currently also has PPH agreements in place with the US, South Korean, Canadian and German patent offices and is one of 13 national patent offices which will implement a new “global” PPH system in January 2014. In addition another new pilot PPH programme is also launching in January 2014 between the the world’s five largest patent offices – the European Patent Office (EPO) and those of Japan, South Korea, China and the US – which will integrate separate arrangements currently operational between those offices.

Please call us on +44 (0)161 827 9400 or email for more information and learn if you could benefit from participating in a PPH scheme.

Wilson Gunn