By Donald Zuhn --
PPH Program between USPTO and HIPO Becomes Permanent
On Thursday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced that the USPTO and the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office (HIPO) had signed a Memorandum of Understanding making the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) program between the offices permanent. The program permits an applicant having an application whose claims have been allowed by HIPO to fast track the examination of an application before the USPTO, or vice versa, such that the latter application is examined out of turn. In particular, an applicant receiving a ruling from the USPTO (or HIPO) that at least one claim in an application is patentable may request that HIPO (or the USPTO) fast track the examination of corresponding claims in the corresponding application in that office. The USPTO also announced that the two offices set forth in the Memorandum of Understanding a common desire to implement further developments of the PPH program.
Since implementing its first Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) program with the Japan Patent Office (JPO) on July 3, 2006, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has established a total of twenty PPH programs with other patent offices. Currently the USPTO has PPH programs (full or pilot) in place with the Japan Patent Office (JPO), the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO), the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), IP Australia (IP AU), the European Patent Office (EPO), the Danish Patent and Trademark Office (DKPTO), the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA), the National Board of Patents and Registration of Finland (NBPR), the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office (HIPO), the Russian Federal Service for Intellectual Property, Patents and Trademarks (ROSPATENT), the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office (SPTO), the Austrian Patent Office (APO), the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI), and the Israel Patent Office (ILPO), the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office (TIPO), the Norwegian Industrial Property Office (NIPO), China's State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), and the Icelandic Patent Office (IPO). The USPTO has also established eleven PCT-PPH programs with other patent offices: IP Australia, APO, SIPO, EPO, NBPR, JPO, KIPO, the Nordic Patent Institute (NPI), ROSPATENT, SPTO, and the Swedish Patent and Registration Office (PRV). Additional information regarding the various PPH and PCT-PPH programs can be found here.
USPTO Alerts Users to Firefox Issue
Last fall, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office informed EFS-Web and Private PAIR users that two recent Java updates (Java 7 and Java Update 29) were incompatible with the software used for authentication on both systems (see "USPTO News Briefs," November 17, 2011). Over the weekend, the Office distributed another e-mail alert to users, noting that the Mozilla Foundation, a non-profit organization that owns the Mozilla Corporation, which in turn coordinates releases of the Mozilla Firefox web browser, announced that the Firefox browser would start blocking older versions of the Java plug-in from running. As a result, when accessing the EFS-Web as a Registered eFiler or when accessing Private PAIR with Firefox, users may receive an error message on the Authentication Page stating: "Java Not Enabled." The Office recommends that users upgrade to the latest version of Java, Version 6 Update 31, in order to avoid such problems.
USPTO Expands Patent Law School Clinic Certification Pilot Program
Last week, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced the expansion of the Patent Law School Clinic Certification Pilot Program to include an additional ten schools for the upcoming academic year. Under the pilot program, law students are permitted to practice patent law before the Office under the guidance of a law school faculty clinic supervisor. In particular, students in the program can expect to draft and file a patent application and respond to an office action.
The Patent Law School Clinic Certification Pilot Program was begun in 2008 with six law schools, and was expanded to include ten more schools in 2010 (some of the participating schools allow students to practice before the Office in both patents and trademarks and others allow students to practice before the Office in trademarks only). The sixteen participating law schools are: University of Akron School of Law; American University, Washington College of Law; University of Connecticut School of Law; The George Washington University School of Law; Howard University School of Law; The John Marshall School of Law; University of Maine School of Law; University of Maryland School of Law; University of New Hampshire School of Law; North Carolina Central University School of Law; University of Puerto Rico School of Law; University of Richmond – Richmond School of Law; Rutgers Law School – Newark Vanderbilt College of Law; West Virginia University School of Law; and William Mitchell College of Law. Additional information regarding the pilot program can be found here.
In its announcement, the Office indicated that it will be accepting submissions from interested law schools until June 1, 2012. Each law school accepted into the pilot program must meet and maintain requirements for certification in order for student practitioners to practice before the USPTO.