The Israel Patent Office has announced that since November 1, 2012, the Israel Patent Office (ILPO) has conducted a Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot program with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) in order to improve patent examination procedures in these countries and make them more efficient.
On January 6, 2014, the ILPO and the CIPO joined the GPPH (Global Patent Prosecution Highway) pilot arrangement, aimed to simplify and improve the existing PPH programs, and coordinate between all the countries participating in the program through a single arrangement. The GPPH pilot allows patent applicants to request accelerated examination at any of the offices involved in the pilot, if their claims have been found to be allowable/patentable by any one of the other offices involved in the pilot.
Under the GPPH pilot, a request for accelerated processing can be based on work products, including PCT work products, providing the eligibility criteria of Framework Provisions for the GPPH are met. Since the guidelines of the GPPH pilot take precedence over those of the existing bilateral arrangements, and since both countries are participants in the GPPH pilot, the ILPO and the CIPO have decided to continue their cooperation through the GPPH pilot arrangement.
Obviously the Israel Patent Office has to publicize these agreements. I try to publicize Israel related IP news, which this clearly is. However, I really don’t know if this is significant. Does it matter if applications are accelerated as the result of a global or a local agreement? Will applications be subjected to more or less screening as a result? Will prosecution be more efficient? I really don’t know.
One thing is certain, the metaphor of highway is singularly inappropriate when considering the scale of Canadian roads when compared with those in Israel.