IP Updates Vietnam: Launching Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) Program

that the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam (NOIP) has officially entered into the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) agreement with the Japan Patent Office (JPO), which is the first PPH agreement between NOIP and a foreign intellectual property office. This test PPH program, which has started since 1 April 2016 and is scheduled to finish on 31 March 2019 (i.e. within 3 years), may allow applicants with corresponding patents granted in Japan to speed up the examination of their patent applications in Vietnam and vice versa. In this sense, the PPH program may support applicants to obtain patent rights in the two countries more quickly, reduce the search/examination burden and improve the quality of the examination.

As you may be aware, there have already existed two examination acceleration routes in Vietnam:

(i) request for examination acceleration based on special reasons or another patent office's prior examination results, and
(ii) request for examination acceleration based on ASEAN Patent Examination Co-operation (ASPEC) Program.

However, these two routes have not been widely used and not proved to really work as they are much dependent on NOIP’s discretion. In this context, the PPH program is expected to be an effective solution to the lengthy pendency of patent applications in Vietnam.

(source: Kenfox IP & Law Office)