Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) in United Kingdom

The UKIPO offers different methods of accelerating the processing of your patent application. The PPH is an initiative which provides you with means of significantly accelerated examination of your patent application if examination work has already been conducted at another intellectual property office.

Currently, UKIPO participates in the Global Patent Prosecution Highway (GPPH), which uses equal set of qualifying requirements to all its country members, and runs a bilateral pilot PPH program with the State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China (CNIPO).

Basic conditions for submitting a PPH request to the UKIPO:

  • the corresponding applications must share the earliest priority;
  • claims must sufficiently correspond to the claims identified as patentable by having the same or similar (narrower) scope of protection;
  • at least one of the corresponding applications must have one or more claims determined patentable/allowable;
  • substantive examination on UKIPO application has not yet begun.

Please note that an application is not eligible for the PPH pilot program where the associated application is a utility model application.

The latest work product, which indicates the claims to be patentable/allowable, must be submitted together with its English translation, if not in English. Where English translation is required machine translations are acceptable, but if a machine translation is of poor quality, a further translation may be requested.

When submitting international work product, the results of International Search Report (ISR) alone are not enough for filing a request under the PCT-PPH. The written opinion of the International Search Authority (WO/ISA) or International Preliminary Examination Authority (WO/IPEA) must be provided.

Making use of PPH programs greatly improves efficiency of the UKIPO and the quality of the issued patents. The procedure can provide applicant with a granted patent for an invention much sooner than would normally be possible. There is no fee for using this service.

Among other methods for accelerating processing is the United Kingdom’s PCT (UK) Fast Track system, which allows applicants to request accelerated examination in the United Kingdom national phase. Said system is sufficient to apply if a PCT application has received a positive International Preliminary Report on Patentability (either Chapter I or Chapter II) regardless of which authority has issued that report. The System was initially applied only to those PCT applications which received a positive IPRP in respect of all claims. Since 2012 the requirements of the System have been relaxed so as to allow applicants, whose IPRP was positive only in respect of some claims of the international application, to adjust the set of claims of the application before entering UK national phase by eliminating claims deemed non-patentable and, thus, make the application eligible for the Fast Track.