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Singapore, 28 May 2013 - Businesses in Singapore can look forward to getting their inventions patented faster in the People’s Republic of China from 1 September 2013.
2 The Chief Executive of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), Mr Tan Yih San, and the State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China (SIPO) Commissioner, Mr Tian Lipu, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the piloting of a Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) programme between Singapore and the People’s Republic of China last week. The two-year pilot programme is targeted for commencement on 1 September 2013 and is part of IPOS' efforts to build a comprehensive suite of international agreements to provide Singapore-based businesses with faster and more cost effective ways to protect their inventions in major markets across the world.
3 Mr Tian Lipu, SIPO’s Commissioner, said, “With globalisation of the world economy and the rapid growth in patent filings in the Asian market, China and Singapore appreciate the importance of expeditious and comprehensive patent protection in fostering technological innovation. The agreement builds on the cooperative relationship between the two nations for the benefit of applicants filing their patent applications in China and Singapore.”
4 IPOS has thus far established PPH agreements with US, Japan, and South Korea. IPOS is also part of a similar acceleration arrangement in ASEAN known as the ASEAN Patent Examination Co-operation (ASPEC) programme.
5 It is common practice for businesses that intend to manufacture or sell their innovative products in another country to file for patent protection. The process normally takes between 4-5 years for a patent to be granted.
6 To enhance Singapore’s suite of IP services, the newly formed patent examination office in Singapore was inaugurated in a ceremony on 28 May 2013. With the newly formed patent examination office and the suite of international patent agreements that IPOS is building, companies can look forward to filing a patent application with IPOS and have it accelerated to major markets in less than 50% of the time taken previously. This works out to a saving of between 2-3 years.
7 Under the accelerated process, an applicant with IPOS will be able to determine the extent to which the invention is patentable within 12 months. This will give the applicant a better sense as to whether his invention can be successfully patented in overseas markets. Should the applicant decide to proceed with an accelerated application route, he could consider riding on the “Highways” (PPH agreements or the ASPEC programme) that Singapore has established.
8 Under the respective PPH agreements or ASPEC programme, partner patent offices will work share so as to avoid duplication of examination work and to accelerate the examination process. With the establishment of an indigenous patent examination office, IPOS believes that the quality search and examination reports and patents analytics performed in Singapore will lead to greater acceleration for patent applications in partner countries. A shorter wait time will give business owners greater assurance in protecting their invention in the new market.
9 The current patent examination office in IPOS comprises mostly PhD-trained patent examiners. It is structured to support the unique focus of the Singapore Research and Development eco-system. Most of the examiners hold specialisation in biotechnology, pharmaceutics, chemistry, nano-materials, semiconductors and info-communications technology. The office will expand to a total of 50 patent examiners by next year.
10 The establishment of the patent examination office gives IPOS greater assurance over the quality and speed of the patent examination process in Singapore. This will enable IPOS to offer more value-added services to patent applicants.
11 IPOS will continue to improve the suite of international agreements on patents to facilitate the export of innovative products and services by Singapore-based companies. To establish Singapore’s credentials as a Global IP Hub in Asia, IPOS will also work with the other ASEAN countries to strengthen the established work-sharing network under the ASPEC programme. IPOS will continue to explore more agreements with Singapore's major trading partners so as to further the reach of Singapore companies.
12 Mr Tan Yih San, IPOS' Chief Executive said, "A strong, internationally acclaimed, and connected IP regime is crucial to the growth of innovative companies in Singapore. Business owners will be able to benefit from this newly established Patent Search and Examination office, and ride on the international network of patent agreements to move overseas and expand into major markets of the world with greater assurance, faster access and lower cost. This is yet another new chapter in the exciting journey of the IP eco-system in Singapore.”
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INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OFFICE OF SINGAPORE (IPOS)
28 MAY 2013
The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) is a statutory board under the Ministry of Law. IPOS is the lead government agency that advises on and administers intellectual property (IP) laws, promotes IP awareness and provides the infrastructure to facilitate the development of IP in Singapore. With IP fast becoming a critical resource in today’s new economy, IPOS’ vision is to be a Global IP Hub in Asia. More information on IPOS can be found on www.ipos.gov.sg.