March 25, 2021
On April 1, 2021, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) and the Moroccan Office of Industrial and Commercial Property (OMPIC) will start the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) program.* Taking advantage of the PPH program, applicants will be able to undergo an accelerated examination in the OMPIC with a simple procedure if such applicants’ applications have been determined to be patentable by the JPO. This commencement of the PPH pilot program with the OMPIC makes the number of the JPO’s PPH partner countries and regions come to 46, and this shows that the JPO still has the world’s largest number of PPH partner countries and regions.
Outline of the PPH pilot program with the OMPIC
On April 1, 2021, the JPO and the OMPIC will start the PPH pilot program.
This will enable applicants whose applications have been determined to be patentable by the JPO to undergo an accelerated examination in the OMPIC with a simple procedure upon a request from the applicants. As the increasing number of Japanese companies have been developing business in Morocco recently, this program is expected to encourage Japanese companies to further facilitate the expansion of their business in the country.
The OMPIC is the second IP office in the African region, following the Egyptian Patent Office (EGPO), with which the JPO has concluded the PPH program.
*Note: The Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) is an examination cooperation program between two Patent Offices that allows the applicant to request that the second Office (OLE: Office of Later Examination) undertake an accelerated examination upon completing a simple procedure, if the corresponding application has been found allowable/patentable by the first Office (OEE: Office of Earlier Examination).
As the number of patent applications filed worldwide tends to grow with the advent of economic globalization, those filed by Japanese companies with overseas patent offices are also increasing. To address this situation, the JPO has been promoting the PPH program so as to encourage applicants in Japan to obtain patent rights overseas in an accelerated manner, secure protection of the quality of such rights, and reduce burdens on patent examiners.
This commencement of the PPH pilot program with the OMPIC makes the number of the JPO’s PPH partner countries and regions come to 46. The JPO has the world’s largest number of PPH partner countries and regions and will continue to function as a “PPH hub patent office” providing a service in which if applicants have patent rights in Japan, they are able to smoothly obtain patent rights in other partner countries and regions in an accelerated manner. Through the PPH program, the JPO will support applicants in quickly and stably obtaining patent rights in overseas countries and will strive to improve quality examinations and reduce burdens on patent examiners by making use of the results of examinations by overseas patent offices.