The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore has announced the implementation of a two-year Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot programme with the People's Republic of China (SIPO). The pilot programme will commence on 1 September 2013.
While details of the implementation of this PPH have yet to be finalised, the implementation of this PPH is expected to be similar to the PPH programmes that IPOS currently has with the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) and the JPO (Japan Patent Office). In this regard, positive examination results issued with respect of a Singapore patent application can be used to accelerate examination proceedings of a corresponding Chinese patent application if IPOS is the office of first filing and SIPO is the office of second filing.
As IPOS now possesses the capability to examine patents using their own examiners, the search and examination unit of IPOS has stated that they will "aim to determine the extent to which an invention is patentable within 12 months", which should lead to rapid search and examination results for Singapore first filed patent applications. Thus, patent applicants wishing to expedite grant in China may want to consider making a first filing of their patent applications in Singapore so as to avail themselves of the PPH.
We will continue to monitor developments regarding this PPH. In the meantime, details of the announcement made regarding the above PPH between IPOS and SIPO can be found in the following website: Please click here.