New Zealand and the GPPH – Multinational efficiencies – 21 July 2017
On 6 July 2017, New Zealand joined the Global Patent Prosecution Highway (GPPH) pilot programme. Under the GPPH, an applicant can speed up examination of its application in a GPPH-participating country if claims of a corresponding application have been allowed in another GPPH-participating country.
Over 20 countries are now in the GPPH including Australia, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, Korea, Singapore and the USA.
Apart from being able to expedite examination in New Zealand, the real benefit of New Zealand’s participation in the GPPH will lie in patent applicants now being able to leverage examination results in New Zealand to expedite examination in other GPPH-participating countries.
New Zealand applications are often one of the first applications of a portfolio to be examined or to achieve acceptance/grant. According to its website, the NZ Intellectual Property Office (IPONZ) aims to issue an examination report within three months of examination being requested. In our experience, IPONZ typically issues first examination reports within about 12 months of the examination request, which is earlier than most countries. New Zealand’s participation in the GPPH now allows applicants to use the early examination results from New Zealand as a basis to expedite examination in other GPPH-participating countries.
Patent examination in New Zealand is relatively cost-effective. Additionally, since the introduction of the Patents Act 2013, New Zealand now provides one of the world’s better-quality patent examinations. Further efficiencies elsewhere can therefore be realised by filing claims allowed in New Zealand.
For the reasons above, for some applicants, being able to expedite examination of their patent portfolio may justify the cost of filing a New Zealand application.