By early 2015, businesses and inventors who would like to seek patent protection under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (“PCT”) international patent filing system will be able to choose the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (the “IPOS”) to be their International Searching Authority (“ISA”) and International Preliminary Examining Authority (“IPEA”).
On 25 September 2014, the IPOS was officially appointed to be ASEAN’s first and Asia’s fifth International Authority in Patent Search and Examination, specifically as an ISA and IPEA. The appointment was by the Assembly of the PCT Union during the 54th World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”) Assemblies and targeted to be effective in early 2015. No effective date is fixed yet.
The IPOS has also entered into a series of Patent Prosecution Highway (“PPH”) agreements with the following IP offices to enhance patent connectivity, on the side-lines of the WIPO Assemblies:
- PPH with German Patent and Trade Mark Office effective 1 October 2014
- PPH with Russian Federal Service for Intellectual Property (“Rospatent”) effective 1 November 2014
- PPH with European Patent Office effective 1 January 2015
Singapore has also signed the following Memoranda of Understanding (“MOU”):
- MOU with Rospatent to facilitate, among others, patent information exchange and the sharing of best practices in IP effective 22 September 2014
- MOU with the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market to collaborate on quality management and training in trade mark examination