In the future, companies filing patent applications in Germany and Austria will benefit from an abridged examination procedure. The German Patent and Trade Mark Office and the Austrian Patent Office have hereunto signed an agreement on the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH): On registration, both offices have thus been able to make use of the other country’s work and research results since June 1st. This way, the examination will be carried out comparably faster and more efficient. “For companies who intend to protect their inventions in Germany and Austria, this method, in addition, entails fewer costs than a registration at the European Patent Office (EPO)”, says Andreas Thielmann, patent attorney at Cohausz & Florack, a Düsseldorf-based law firm. A prerequisite for an examination in accordance with the PPH is that there is a corresponding patent application obtainable in the neighboring country which has at least been rated as grantable.
Apart from the Austrian Patent Office, the German Patent and Trademark Office has already started PPH projects with the following offices: the Japanese Patent Office (JPO), the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), the State Intellectual Property Office of China (SIPO), the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UK-IPO), and the Finnish Patent and Registration Office (PRH)