With effect from 1 September 2015, Singapore begins operations as ASEAN’s first and Asia’s fifth International Patent Search and Examination Authority under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (the “PCT”). This allows local and global businesses and inventors who would like to seek patent protection under the PCT international patent filing system to fast track their applications for patent protection in multiple markets via Singapore with the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (the “IPOS”) as their International Searching Authority (“ISA”) and International Preliminary Examining Authority (“IPEA”).
The IPOS announced this development on 31 August 2015. The IPOS also announced that patentapplicants to Vietnam, Mexico, Brunei, Japan and Laos will be the first to gain access to the IPOS’ new services as an ISA and IPEA in the coming months.
The PCT is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (the “WIPO”) and enables businesses and inventors to seek patent protection in 148 countries through a single international patent application. There are currently 19 IP offices across the world appointed to act as ISAs and IPEAs. In Asia, there are five appointed IP offices, the other four being China, India, Japan and South Korea.