This is the fourth post of a four part series on fast tracking prosecution through the US Patent Office. This post is focused on the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH). The Patent Prosecution Highway program requires an applicant to file a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application or a foreign application and wait for a favorable decision to be made by another patent office before filing a PPH request in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. That is, this program allows an applicant to file a request to enter the program only if another patent office participating in the PPH program has found at least one of the applicant’s claims to be allowable.
As far as timing, an applicant should expect to receive a first Office Action on the merits within a couple of months from the grant of the PPH request. The overall allowance rate for PPH applications is much higher than a regular application, at about 84 percent as opposed to around 53 percent for regular applications.
The PPH program does not cost more than a regular application, and the prosecution process itself is largely the same as standard application prosecution. No examination support documents are required, and normal Examiner interview practice is maintained. There is also no limit to the number of applications admitted each fiscal year into the program. Continuation applications are eligible for the program until the first Office Action has been issued, but applications filed with RCEs are not eligible.