Earlier this month, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) was appointed a competent International Searching Authority (ISA) and International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) for PCT applications filed in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Indonesia Patent Office acting, respectively, as the PCT US Receiving Office (US/RO) and the PCT Indonesian Receiving Office (ID/RO). These two new additions join Japan, Vietnam, Mexico, Singapore, Brunei and Laos in appointing IPOS as an ISA/IPEA. Thus, since we reported on 10 September 2015 that Singapore started operations effective from 1 September 2015 as ASEAN's first international authority under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), IPOS has been making fast progress in establishing its global presence as a PCT international authority.

The announcement by the USPTO and the Directorate General of Intellectual Property (DGIP) of Indonesia appointing IPOS as a competent ISA/IPEA was made on the sidelines of the 55th World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) General Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.

Under the PCT, applicants when filing international applications in the above mentioned countries are able to select IPOS as ISA/IPEA to conduct the international search and, if requested, international preliminary examination. To date, statistics indicate IPOS has received 41 PCT applications appointing IPOS as ISA/IPEA.

By virtue of the selection, applicants will benefit from added ease and cost-effectiveness. When making a PCT application through IPOS as the receiving office, there will be up to 75% rebate on PCT filing fees. In addition, IPOS offers a quicker turnaround time for first Written Opinions, which may be issued as soon as sixty days after filing, and has searches that are conducted in English as well as Chinese. IPOS also offers Supplementary International Search (SIS) services under the PCT whereby IPOS can act as a SIS Authority to perform a supplementary search in Chinese.

Aside from services as ISA/IPEA, IPOS offers Patent Prosecution Highway options that expedite patent applications in over 30 countries, including key economies such as the United States, Europe, China, Japan, and Korea and expedited prosecution options in many countries in Southeast Asia under the ASEAN Patent Examination Co-operation (ASPEC).