UPP: Get on the Fast Track

In the world of patent processing, a new initiative has been launched to test a potential efficiency improvement. It is the Utilisation Pilot Project or UPP for short.

The UPP is scheduled to run during 2007. Its purpose is to test the premise that work carried out on a first filing at a national patent office can be further utilised for a subsequent filing by the applicant and the EPO. It is expected that this can benefit all participants by streamlining the patent system within Europe.

The EPO is looking for applicants who are willing to participate in the pilot. Eligible applicants should be submitting an application for a European patent as well as claiming priority at one of the national offices participating in the UPP (UK, Austria, Germany, and Denmark).

The UPP offers participants fast track handling of the search application. The extended European search report (EESR) will be issued within a maximum of six months; Currently, UPP participants are receiving search reports within 2 months! The only requirement is that UPP applicants send along with their EP application copies of the national office products from the national filing, e.g. national search report and national written opinion. These additional documents will be used for the purposes of the UPP only. They will not be published or made publicly available via file inspection.

There is a lot of excitement around the UPP and part of that excitement comes from the discovery process of what the benefits of utilisation are. With the full participation of examiners and applicants, we look forward to determining those benefits. Moreover, we would like to make the UPP relevant and meaningful to you, thus your participation and feedback is critical.