China joins Patent Prosecution Highway Improvement initiative

Spruson & Ferguson


Established in 1887, Spruson & Ferguson is a leading intellectual property (IP) service provider in the Asia-Pacific region, with offices in Australia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. They offer high-quality services to clients and are part of the IPH Limited group, which includes various professional service firms operating under different brands in multiple jurisdictions. Spruson & Ferguson is an incorporated entity owned by IPH Limited, with a strong presence in the industry.
The PPH Improvement Initiative aims to reduce the average response time from examiners to applicants.
China Intellectual Property
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The China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) has announced its participation in the "PPH Improvement Initiative", which aims to improve the user experience of the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH).

This collaborative effort involves five leading intellectual property (IP) offices known as IP5: China, the United States, Europe, Japan, and the Republic of Korea.

The initiative's primary goal is to achieve an average processing time of three months from the PPH request grant to the issuance of the first office action. Additionally, it aims to reduce the average response time from examiners to applicants, providing PPH users with a more predictable examination cycle.


Since November 2011, the CNIPA has built PPH ties with patent offices in 32 countries or regions, enhancing international cooperation in patent prosecution. Over the decade, China and many partner countries have decided to extend the period of their PPH pilot programs to continuously serve innovators by accelerating the patent examination process. In January 2024, the CNIPA announced an extension of its PPH agreement with the German patent office for another three years to January 2027. It also extended its PPH agreement with Chile and Denmark until the end of 2028.

Furthermore, the CNIPA still currently maintains IP5 PPH program with all IP5 offices.

Benefits for patent owners

With the PPH Improvement Initiative, IP5 has set a target of three months for the average cycle time of issuance of the first office action and the average cycle time of response to applicant's opinion in 2024.

Our team in China has observed much faster times for grant of Chinese patents by utilising PPH programs in recent years. As China joins this initiative, applicants will have a more predictable examination cycle for a Chinese patent application participating PPH programs.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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