20 May 2016Jurisdiction reportsJorge Juárez

The dizzy heights of the IMPI-EPO pilot PPH

Taking into account the importance for applicants of patenting in Mexico and the global tendency of reducing prosecution times and costs, in recent years the IMPI has signed Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) agreements with some of the most important patent offices worldwide, such as the US Patent and Trademark Office, Japan Patent Office, Korean Intellectual Property Office and China’s State Intellectual Property Office, among others, which are today fully functional.

Nevertheless, the European Patent Office (EPO), from which most of the trends and criteria are taken by the Mexican authorities, was still absent in the above list. However, the IMPI and the EPO have finally launched a joint PPH pilot programme; the trial period began on January 6, 2015 and will end on January 5, 2018.

The IMPI-EPO PPH programme allows an applicant to obtain corresponding patents exploiting the work previously done by the other office, so that it is possible to file PPH requests based on the latest Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) work product or national work product established by the EPO, where the said product concludes that one or more claims are patentable/allowable.

The above means that the “PCT work product” published by the EPO can serve as the basis for the PPH request, for example, when the written opinion or international preliminary examination report (IPER) carried out by the EPO acting as the international searching authority or international preliminary examining authority determines one or more claims as patentable/allowable.

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