With the announcement of the Bilateral Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) Programme between the Indian Patent Office under the Controller General of Patents, Design and Trade Marks (CGPDTM) and the Japan Patent Office (JPO), the floodgates to investments and financing in India has opened opportunities beyond borders. The patent offices of these countries have inked an agreement for expeditious grant of patents to Indian entities and individuals. This initiative will initially commence on a pilot basis for three years.

While the opening for India is endless, the stakes for Japan is no less. It is a step towards strengthening the intellectual property and industrial relationship between the countries owing to the monopolistic blessing that can be sought in both countries. While Japan is known to be the leader of PPH programmes, with their aim to accelerate the processing of patents through the exchange and mutual use of work products, this agreement is another kaizen for intellectual property rights for the country.

The mileage in this agreement for Japan is accelerated examination in India. The CGPDTM will examine PPH applications (applications for which PPH requests are made) and applicants can obtain patents in a shorter time in India where delays in the patent examination are perennial and grant of protections is dawdling on most occasions and smoothly develop their business in the country. It works in a manner that once an applicant whose application has been determined to be patentable by the Office of First Filing (OFF), will undergo an accelerated examination in the Office of Second Filing (OSF) with a simple procedure upon request from the applicant based on bilateral office agreements. Simply put, upon a request under the scheme, the CGPDTM will examine such applications in a hastened manner and are examined before other applications. 

Another bonus is that the JPO application on which PPH is requested and the CGPDTM application(s) forming the basis of the PPH request shall have the same earliest date (whether this is a priority date or a filing date). This procedure includes the PCT national phase application as well. Such a procedure helps maintain the equilibrium of the patent application by allowing a standardized method of dating the applications and in return, maintaining the priority of the application.

On a concluding note, it is pertinent to note that, the number of applications for patents filed in 2017-18 has risen by  5.3 % year-on-year, according to the office of the CGPDTM. This shows the increasing innovation and research within the country. Therefore, it is only safe to say that this timely action of the Indian government is a step towards re-defining intellectual property in India through foreign guidance and experience.


This article is written by Adyasree Prakriti.