On January 20 2015, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) and Cambodia’s Ministry of Industry and Handicraft (MIH). Under the terms of the agreement, applicants can soon enjoy ease of application for patents and industrial designs in Cambodia and Singapore by filing in either country.
IPOS’s patent search and examination reports will also be recognised by the Cambodian authority. The agreement aims to make IP protection more accessible to businesses and creators with closer tie-ups between the IP regimes of the two countries. An applicant seeking IP protection for patents and industrial designs in Cambodia will soon be able to do so by filing with IPOS and thereafter being recognised in Cambodia.
The MoU further benefits and enhances the platform for businesses to seek greater IP protection between Cambodia and Singapore by having ease of filing at the beginning and sharing a common examination system to achieve consistent outcome at the back-end. The IPOS-MIH collaboration is also an endorsement of IPOS’s appointment as an International Searching and Examining Authority under the Patent Cooperation Treaty in September 2014 by the World Intellectual Property Organization. The agreement complements patent work-sharing programmes such as the ASEAN Patent Examination Cooperation to support businesses seeking faster IP protection in the region. This is a significant step for companies in ASEAN to explore, grow their businesses and open up more economic opportunities for investors in the two countries as ASEAN Economic Community integrates.
Subsequently, on March 4 2015, less than two months after signing of the MOU between IPOS and MIH, the first Singapore patent was granted protection and recognised in Cambodia. The application was based on a positive report by IPOS’s search and examination unit and also marks Cambodia’s first-ever granted patent. The successful collaboration with Cambodia reaffirms IPOS search and examination capability as Singapore prepares to become ASEAN’s first fully operational International Searching Authority and International Preliminary Examining Authority under the Patent Cooperation Treaty in September 2015. Together with other on-going patent work sharing programmes such as the ASEAN Patent Examination Cooperation, the collaboration between Singapore and Cambodia enables prospective companies to access the ASEAN regional market more effectively. Such an arrangement allows businesses to enjoy expedited patent protection in the region and also support businesses seeking cross-border investment in the two countries’ combined market of more than 20 million people.