PPH: Patent Prosecution Highway

The USPTO has the goal of beginning examination of applications within 14 months of filing. If examination does not begin timely, the applicant is entitled to additions in patent term if the applicant itself also does not delay in responding to the USPTO.  Notwithstanding its aggressive hiring efforts and due to substantial backlog, however, some cases can still take two plus years to even start the examination process.

To expedite the process, in addition to requests for prioritized exam, which cost an extra fee (depending on applicant size, from $1,000 – $4,000), the Patent Prosecution Highway may also be available to speed up the process.

PPH is available in applications that are filed in more than one jurisdiction that participate in the PPH program.  For example, if an application is filed in the United States and Europe or in the United States and as an international application (PCT), then the application may be PPH eligible.  When an applicant receives a final ruling from a first patent office that at least one claim is allowed, the applicant may request fast track examination of corresponding claim(s) in a corresponding patent application that is pending in a second patent office.  In a PCT application, this is often a favorable search report and written opinion.

NRVIP Law can determine if your patent application would be best for PPH.

In an application for a Mammography Device that was filed in the United States and in Europe, once allowance was achieved in Europe, a PPH request was filed in the corresponding application in the United States.  The European office action detailing the allowance and references cited in the office action and search report were submitted in the US along with an amendment to the US claims to ensure the claims would sufficiently correspond to the claims allowed in Europe. Within 5 months of filing the PPH request, examination of the application then began in the US.

For more representative examples, please visit: