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2009. 02. 60th
+ Foreign Patents become easier to acquire

Commissioners of major industrialized countries agree on building "multilateral Patent Prosecution Highway"


It is expected that Korean companies can acquire patents in foreign countries like US, Japan and Great Britain more easily and quickly.

According to the KIPO, 10 major countries having advanced IP rights system including Korea, US and Japan have hold an conference of Patent Office Commissioners in Copenhagen, Netherlands on 19 and 20 of February, 2009 and agreed to pursue multilateral Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) system by which international patent applications can be prosecuted more efficiently.

PPH is a system where patent examination is facilitated in one country for the patents which have been filed in more than one country for the same invention and allowed for a patent in other country.

So, applicants of patents can greatly reduce the time and cost for acquiring patents, and Patent Offices of many countries can enhance the efficiency of examination through international cooperation in the examination procedure. Currently, 10 countries including Korea, US and Japan have introduced and are managing PPH system.

Considering that about 400,000 case out of 1,730,000 patent applications worldwide were filed in more than one country in 2007, the PPH system is expected to help solve the problem of delay in examination and acquire international patent more quickly.

In the conference, the commissioners discussed primarily on the way that can extend the current bilateral PPH system to a multilateral system so that patent prosecution in many countries can be made more efficiently.

The commissioner of the KIPO, JungSiK Ko, urged in a key note address in the conference that international cooperation in the examination of patent application is needed for facilitating examination and for the convenience of the applicants and that major industrialized countries participate in the discussion of harmonization of patent prosecution and improvement of PCT system.

Meanwhile, Mr. Ko had a meeting with Ms. Mary Carman, the commissioner of Canadian Patent Office, and agreed to start discussing on the pilot program of bilateral PPH system between Korea and Canada. The Patent Offices of the two countries plan to start the PPH system temporarily for 1 year after the discussion and will adopt the system depending on the result of the test.

The KIPO will actively participate in the multilateral PPH system so that domestic companies can acquire foreign patents more easily and quickly, said Mr. Ko. He also said that KIPO will further the effort for international cooperation in enhancing efficiency and quality of patent prosecution by play an important role in the Patent Cooperation System of 5 industrialized countries which has been initiated by the KIPO.