On August 28, 2017, the Brunei Intellectual Property Office (BruIPO) signed an agreement to introduce a new patent examination initiative – the Patent Prosecution Highway Plus (PPH+) – with the Japan Patent Office (JPO), which will commence on October 1, 2017.
Using this PPH+ system, patent prosecution procedures in Brunei are accelerated by allowing BruIPO to reuse the search and examination results of corresponding patent applications filed in Japan – thus reducing examination workload and time, minimizing costs, and improving patent quality.
Applicants can request decisions on patents through PPH+ by filing a PPH+ Request Form concurrent with Patents Form 14 [under Section 29 (2) (c) of the Patents Order of Brunei Darussalam] at BruIPO.
Based on the JPO-BruIPO PPH+ program, below are requirements related to the documentation for filing an accelerated patent application.
Both the BruIPO application (on which PPH+ is requested) and the JPO application/s (forming the basis of the PPH+ request) should have the same earliest date – whether this is a priority date or filing date. The BruIPO application may be:
- An application which validly claims priority under the Paris Convention from the JPO application/s.
- An application which provides the basis of a valid priority claim under the Paris Convention for the JPO application/s [including PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) national phase application/s].
- An application which shares at least one common priority document with the JPO application/s [including PCT national phase application/s].
- A PCT national phase application where both the JPO application(s) and the BruIPO application are derived from the same PCT international application without priority claim. At least one corresponding application must exist with the JPO – with the applicant having already been informed of JPO’s decision to grant the patent.
All BruIPO claims on file as originally filed or as amended for examination under the PPH+ must sufficiently correspond to, one or more of those claims indicated as granted by the JPO. A claim correspondence table must be attached to the PPH+ Request Form submitted to BruIPO.
The decision whether the patent application can be entitled to accelerated examination under the PPH+ system will be provided by BruIPO. If the application does not meet all the requirements, the application will undergo the standard examination process.
The PPH+ program between BruIPO and JPO will run for an initial period of three years. After the initial period, the program will be evaluated to determine whether and how the program should be further implemented.
These steps taken to improve Brunei’s international cooperation in the IP sphere are aimed at diversifying the country’s economy to ensure its business environment becomes more amenable to investment from foreign businesses in a wide range of sectors.
By Denise Mirandah and Tai Yoke Yee