A Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) allowing UK businesses to export to China more easily is being piloted from today.

The pilot links the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO), an executive agency of the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills, and China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO). It is intended to allow ‘innovative British businesses to obtain patent protection in China more quickly and cheaply’.

The PPH allows applicants successful in obtaining a patent at one office to request accelerated processing of a corresponding application at the other.

Minister for Intellectual Property, Lord Younger, said the PPH will reduce duplication and create a more ‘efficient and affordable system’ for businesses in the UK and China.

‘This can only help to encourage growth and enable UK businesses to work more closely with one of our most important economic partners,’ he said. ‘UK exports to China are growing faster than our French and German competitors with exports almost doubling since 2009 – reaching more than £1bn per month.’

The launch of the pilot programme follows the signing of a Joint Statement of Intent by the IPO and SIPO as part of the prime minister’s visit to China in December of last year.

The UK-China PPH pilot starts on 1 July 2014 and will run until 30 June 2016.