Following the bilateral agreement between the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam (NOIP) and the Japan Patent Office (JPO) in October 2015, the PPH Pilot Program has undergone two seasons since 2016 with aim of reducing local backlog of Patent examination.
Under this Pilot Program, applicants can request accelerated examination of their Vietnamese Patent applications based on the corresponding Japanese applications that meet a number of following requirements:
(i) A request for substantive examination of the Vietnamese patent application must be filed at the NOIP either prior to or at the time of the PPH request,
(ii) The first office action for the Vietnamese patent application has not yet been issued by the NOIP at the time the PPH request is filed, and
(iii) The claims under the Vietnamese patent applications must be identical and/or equivalent to those determined to be patentable in the corresponding Japanese applications.
As the number of PPH requests is limited to 100 per season makes it a very competitive program that requires high attention from applicants. For the first season, it reached the limited number during four months but it was only one month and a half in the second season, attesting to its popularity in Vietnam.
Applicants who wish to utilize this PPH Pilot Program need to wait until the third season launched in April 02, 2018. In the meantime, the required documents to accompany a PPH request should be prepared well in advance and filed in the morning of April 02, 2018.