In May 2013, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) and the State Intellectual Property Office of China (SIPO) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to start a two-year Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot programme between the two intellectual property offices. The piloting program will commence on 1 September 2013.
Detailed information on procedure and requirements of this PPH programme has not been published. However, it is expected that the PPH programme between IPOS and SIPO will be similar to the current PPH programmes that IPOS has established with the intellectual property offices of US, Japan and Korea.
The aim of PPH programmes is to share search and examination results between participating intellectual property offices. This is intended to expedite the prosecution of patent applications by avoiding redundant search and examination work.
The PPH programme between IPOS and SIPO will enable an applicant to use search and examination results of his Singapore patent application to expedite the prosecution of his corresponding Chinese patent application, and vice versa.
Hence, this PPH programme will benefit applicants wishing to obtain patent protection for their invention in both Singapore and China.
In addition to the PPH programme, Singapore is also a party to the ASEAN Patent Examination Co-operation (ASPEC), which is a regional cooperation project between patent offices of participating ASEAN member states. This initiative enables the use of search and examination results from other participating patent office as reference in each participating patent office. Presently, there are none participating patent offices, namely those from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.