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UK businesses set to benefit from streamlined international patent process


BIS Department for Business Innovation and Skills - Expert Author

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05 August 2011 - BIS  and IPO

A new pilot scheme, increasing the flexibility of the Patent Prosecution Highway will provide more support for UK businesses operating in the US and Japan.

The Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) is an existing scheme that can speed up the process of getting patents granted in participating countries. It gives applicants who have received a favourable decision by a first examining office the opportunity to request an accelerated examination at another office.

The new ‘Mottainai’ pilot will help ease the process by relaxing requirements around priority and timing of application. Previously, patent applications have only been eligible for the PPH if they met strict requirements relating to the order in which they were filed and the priority which they claimed. Offices participating in the pilot programme will relax these requirements so that applicants may benefit from the PPH regardless of the order in which their applications were filed or the priority claimed.

‘Mottainai’ is a Japanese term meaning ‘a sense of regret concerning waste when the intrinsic value of an object or resource is not properly utilised.’

Minister for Intellectual Property Baroness Wilcox said:

“The Patent Prosecution Highway can significantly speed up the often lengthy process of gaining a patent and help minimise the associated costs to the applicant. It also helps to reduce patent backlogs by minimising the duplication of work carried out by offices.

“Relaxing the priority requirements will provide greater opportunity and flexibility for businesses to take advantage of quicker and cheaper international patent protection. A greater use of the PPH will also improve the efficiency of participating offices and help contribute to granting high quality patents.”

The ‘Mottainai’ pilot programme will involve the Intellectual Property Office’s PPH agreements with the Japanese Patent Office (JPO) and the US Patents and Trade Marks Office (USPTO). The pilot will run for an initial one year period until 14 July 2012.


  1. The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is within the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills (BIS) and is responsible for the national framework of Intellectual Property rights, comprising patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.
  2. Its role is to help manage an IP system that encourages innovation and creativity, balances the needs of consumers and users, promotes strong and competitive markets and is the foundation of the knowledge-based economy.
  3. It operates in a national and an international environment and its work is governed by national and international law, including various international treaties relating to Intellectual Property (IP) to which the United Kingdom is a party.
  4. While PPH agreements have traditionally included restrictions based on both the order of filing and the countries from which applications initially claim priority, the pilot program will trial the ‘MOTTAINAI’ model under which requests for acceleration can be made under a PPH agreement regardless of the order in which the various applications were filed or the original priority claimed by the co-pending applications.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2011-08-06 17:40:28 in Legal Articles

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