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Oct. 2008 Newsletter
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Patent Worksharing Pilot Program Started July 2008

Triway Pilot Program


Triway Pilot Program started from July 28, 2008, for providing patent applicants and the patent Offices with the benefit of search results of the Trilateral Offices within a certain short time period in order to give applicants and Trilateral Offices an opportunity to share and consider all of the Trilateral search results.

A Quick Word

Triway Pilot Program started on July 28, 2008!
The Trilateral Patent Offices of the U.S., Japan, and Europe started a limited "Triway" worksharing pilot program that is limited to 100 applications of diverse technologies, with the USPTO as the Office of First Filing.

Purpose of the Triway Pilot Program

Triway is the framework in which the Office of Second Filing and the Office of Third Filing utilize the search results of the Office of First Filing, so that each Trilateral Office can eliminate the duplication of work for search and examination, and in which applicants receive the search (and examination) results from each Office within a certain short time period so that they can proceed (ex. amend the claims) under the consideration of all the Trilateral Offices' results at the same time. The pilot program is implemented in order to test the effect of this framework.

Eligible Application

  1. A complete application must be filed at the USPTO as the Office of First Filing;
  2. A corresponding complete application claiming priority to the U.S. application must be filed at the EPO and the JPO as the Office of Second Filing and the Office of Third Filing;
  3. The U.S., EP, and JP applications must be limited to a single invention and the claims of the 3 applications must sufficiently correspond;
  4. Applicant must file a request for participation in the Triway Pilot Program and a petition to make the U.S. application special under the Triway Pilot Program.
The Triway pilot program is limited to 100 applications of diverse technologies. In order to ensure that the 100 applications are from diverse technologies, the USPTO accepts 15 requests for participation in the program for U.S. applications assigned to each Technology center.

Procedures

  1. A volunteer applicant file an application at the USPTO as the Office of filing and request for participation in the Triway Pilot Program, and then file a corresponding application claiming priority to the U.S. application at the EPO and the JPO within 4 months from the filing of the U.S. application.
  2. The USPTO will perform a search for the U.S. application and fax a copy of the search report to the applicant within 6 months after the filing of the U.S. application.
  3. After receiving the USPTO search report, the applicant promptly file a copy of the USPTO search report in the corresponding EP application and request participation in the Triway Pilot Program in the EPO.
  4. The EPO will conduct its Extended European Search Report (EESR) process and consider the art cited in the USPTO search report. The EPO then will send a copy of the EESR to the applicant.
  5. Then the applicant files a copy of the EESR at the USPTO in the corresponding U.S. application, and lists the art cited in the EESR.
  6. The applicant files a request for accelerated examination at the JPO, stating participation in the Triway Pilot Program at the JPO, and providing copies of the USPTO search report and the EESR.
  7. The JPO will perform a search and examination for the corresponding JP application, considering the art cited in the USPTO search report and the EESR, and will issue an office action to the applicant for the corresponding JP application.
  8. Then, the applicant files a copy of the JP office action at the EPO and the USPTO.
  9. At this stage, each of the corresponding applications will contain the search results from all three Offices, plus an examination result from the JPO. The U.S. application will be examined as a special case by the U.S. examiner and the U.S. examiner will consider the search results of all three Offices in the examination of the U.S. application.

Trial Period

The Tirway Pilot Program will end on July 28, 2009 (1 year after the commencement) or upon the acceptance of 100 requests submitted to the USPTO as the Office of First Filing, whichever occurs first.

Detailed Information regarding the Triway Pilot Program