Earlier this year, we reported on the Memorandum of Understanding between the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) and Cambodia’s Ministry of Industry and Handicraft (MIH). Further details of this enhanced cooperation are now available. More specifically, owners of Singapore patents/patent applications can now re-register their Singapore patents at MIH and submit an IPOS-issued Search and Examination (S&E) report to MIH for the grant of a Cambodia related patent application.
1. Re-registration of a Singapore patent in Cambodia
The proprietor of a Singapore patent can submit the request to re-register the patent in Cambodia to the MIH any time during its term, provided that the patent is in force in Singapore at the time of re-registration in Cambodia. A unique feature of this scheme is its retrospective application, i.e. all patents currently in force in Singapore are eligible. The required documents include the application forms, certified copies of the Certificate of Grant, patent specification as granted and statement of inventorship (where the applicant is not the inventor) in respect of the Singapore patent. The request must also be accompanied by a suitable Power of Attorney and the application and grant fees.
If MIH is of the view that the application documents are in order, a Certificate of Grant of a Cambodia patent will be issued. It should be noted that, to keep the Cambodia patent in force, renewal fees, which are calculated based on the filing date of the Cambodia patent, must be paid starting from the next renewal period.
2. Submission of an IPOS-issued Search and Examination Report to MIH
The applicant of related patent applications in Singapore and Cambodia can request IPOS in writing to submit a copy of (i) the final Search and Examination Report issued by IPOS, and (ii) the final specification of the Singapore patent application to MIH. In the same letter, the applicant can also request MIH to amend the specification of the Cambodia application to conform to the final specification of the Singapore application, in order to facilitate grant of the Cambodia application. The letter to IPOS can be filed by the agent on record of the Singapore application, and there is no official fee for this procedure.
Further information can be found on the IPOS website.
The above two schemes provide useful options for owners of Singapore patents/patent applications, in addition to the ongoing ASEAN Patent Examination Cooperation (ASPEC) work-sharing agreement which both Singapore and Cambodia are parties to. The procedures are relatively straightforward and cost-effective, since a Khmer translation of the Singapore specification is currently not required. While IPOS has not indicated how long these two schemes will last, if there is an interest in extending the protection to Cambodia, we recommend that the necessary actions be taken as soon as practicable.
If you have any questions relating to these two schemes or other aspects of the patent process in Singapore and Cambodia, please feel free to contact us.