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ASEAN Enhances Patent Cooperation Programme

by Mary Swire, LawAndTax-News.com, Hong Kong

02 May 2012


As announced by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Intellectual Property (IP) Offices, their Patent Examination Co-operation (ASPEC) programme has now been enhanced, after a regular review at a working group meeting in Bangkok in November last year.

Launched in June 2009, the ASPEC programme was the first regional patent cooperation programme and provides for the sharing of search and examination results amongst the participating ASEAN IP Offices. It drew the initial participation of Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, and Brunei subsequently joined at the beginning of this year.

As one of the programmes to achieve the strategic goals of the ASEAN Intellectual Property Rights Action Plan 2011-2015, the ASPEC programme aims to foster “a balanced IP system” that takes into account the varying levels of development of ASEAN member states and differences in institutional capacity of national IP Offices. It should, it is said, “enable them to deliver timely, quality and accessible IP services to promote the region as being conducive to the needs of IP users and generators”.

Search and examination work conducted by a participating ASEAN IP Office on a corresponding application serves as a valuable reference to another participating ASEAN IP Office. Patent examiners should be able to develop their search criteria or strategy more quickly, and reduce searching time, by having access to information and assessment on prior IP found in specific technical databases, local databases and databases in other languages, which the examiner might otherwise not have access to.

It is intended that the ASPEC programme will benefit entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized enterprises and inventors in individual ASEAN member states to obtain patents on their innovations on a regional basis.

Following the review, it has now been decided that all documents submitted for the purpose of the ASPEC programme at any participating ASEAN IP Office will be in the English language, and the ASPEC request form has also been revised. This should reduce duplication on search and examination work, thereby facilitating applicants in obtaining corresponding patents faster and more efficiently.

It was confirmed that all interested applicants should continue to consult with ASEAN IP Offices, or through their websites, for details on ASPEC’s requirements and procedures.

TAGS: business | patents | Brunei | law | intellectual property | Laos | Philippines | Singapore | Thailand | agreements | patent search | Cambodia | Indonesia | Malaysia | Vietnam | services

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