The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has expanded its international cooperation with the Republic of Korea and Lao People’s Democratic Republic for applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).
With effect from 1 July 2020, nationals and residents of the Republic of Korea will be able to select IPOS, in addition to the Australian Patent Office, the Austrian Patent Office and the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), as a competent International Searching Authority (ISA) and International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) for international applications filed with KIPO or with the International Bureau (IB) as the Receiving Office under the PCT.
With effect from 7 July 2020, nationals and residents of Lao People’s Democratic Republic will also be able to select IPOS, in addition to the China National Intellectual Property Administration, the European Patent Office, the Japan Patent Office and the Korean Intellectual Property Office, as a competent International Searching Authority (ISA) and International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) for international applications filed with the International Bureau (IB) as the Receiving Office under the PCT.
The Republic of Korea and Lao People’s Democratic Republic are the newest additions to the list of countries that have appointed IPOS as an ISA/IPEA, which includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Thailand, Uganda, United States of America and Vietnam. Enterprises in these countries can utilise this cooperation to benefit from IPOS’s high-quality and efficient patent search and examination services. For example, one unique strength of IPOS is that it is able to conduct patent searches directly in both English and Chinese to cover prior art documents in both languages.
IPOS’s cooperation for international applications filed under the PCT could also be leveraged, in addition to regional work-sharing networks such as the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) and PCT-ASEAN Patent Examination Cooperation (PCT-ASPEC), to speed up the patent grant process and to secure a patent right. Based on the cooperation of IPOS with the Ministry of Industry & Handicraft (MIH) of Cambodia and the Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) of Lao People’s Democratic Republic, patent applicants will also be able to submit a Search and Examination report issued by IPOS to the MIH or the DIP for the grant of a patent in Cambodia or Laos.
The expanding international cooperation of IPOS enables applicants to enjoy patent acceleration in both the ASEAN and international regions, facilitating increased speed to markets for the benefit of stakeholders. This further contributes to Singapore’s goal of becoming a global IP hub in Asia which is at the growth frontier for Research and Development (R&D) investments and IP activities.
IPOS has established PPH pilot programmes with the National Institute of Industry Property Ministry of Economy of Brazil (INPI), the China National Intellectual Property (CNIPA), the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) and the European Patent Office (EPO). IPOS also participates in the Global Patent Prosecution Highway (GPPH) pilot programme which has a network of over 26 participating offices including the Japan Patent Office, the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the Korean Intellectual Property Office and the German Patent and Trademark Office. The ASEAN Patent Examination Cooperation (ASPEC) is a regional patent work-sharing programme composed of the IP offices of nine participating ASEAN member states including Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Patent applicants can utilise the search and examination reports of participating IP Offices to accelerate the patenting process in the other participating IP offices.