Israel signs up for fast-track patent examination with the EPO

A Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot programme has just been signed between the European Patent Office (EPO) and the Israel Patent Office allowing accelerated treatment of patent applications between these offices. The agreement, signed in Brussels, will start in January 2015.

The pilot programme will allow fast-track patent examination procedures in order to enable innovators from Europe and Israel to obtain patents more quickly and efficiently in each other’s jurisdiction. The patent offices of Canada, Mexico and Singapore have also signed similar agreements with the EPO. These new pilot programmes all begin on 6 January 2015.

Dani Kramer, Partner at Mathys & Squire said:

“This is an exciting time for applicants wishing to seek patents for their innovations in Israel and Europe. The new pilot programme means that applicants will benefit from a faster, more cost-effective and simplified patent application process. It will also further strengthen the economic and technological relationship between Israel and Europe.”

The pilot programme means that a patent applicant whose claims have been found to be allowable by the EPO or other participating offices may request faster processing of their corresponding applications that are pending before the other office. The offices have also agreed to share existing work results. This is expected to speed up the application process and reduce costs for applicants.

The new pilots with Israel, Canada, Mexico and Singapore follow on from the comprehensive PPH pilot programme launched in January 2014 by the world’s five largest IP offices, or “IP5” (the EPO plus the patent offices of China, Japan, Korea and the US), which utilises both international (PCT) and national work products.

Israel is of course an important country for technology and innovation. In the last year the EPO received over 1,700 patent filings from inventors and companies from Israel. This is an increase of 7% over the previous year. The country’s strength in technology is also reflected in the EPO’s published table of the number of European patent applications per million inhabitants. Israel was 11th in this table, ahead of the US, the UK and Korea.