Heads of ASEAN Intellectual Property Offices in Cha-Am, Thailand, announced the launching of the first patent cooperation in the region to enable businessman, especially small and medium enterprises and investors, so get patent rights for their innovations in the region.
“Being called the ASEAN Patent Examination Cooperation (ASPEC), this project laid a significant foundation for the manifestation of ASEAN Economic Communication (AEC) and in line with the collective goal of ASEAN in providing protection to intellectual property rights effectively and efficiently”, said Mr. Kamel Mohamad, Director General of intellectual Property Cooperation in Malaysia and Chairman of ASEAN Working Group on Intellectual Property Cooperation (AWFIPC) in a statement received by Business News from the ASEAN Secretariat through e-mail.
According to Pangrat Asavapisit, Director General of Thailand’s Intellectual Property Department, the project started on June 2009 would not only support “creative economy” in ASEAN, but would also improve the role of small and medium enterprises in intra-ASEAN trade, especially exporters who would benefit from improvement of patent systems. The objective was to increase circulation of time for processing patent applications and qualities of finding and examination of reports between intellectual property offices in ASEAN.
An applicant who submitted a patent application for an innovation to two or more ASEAN intellectual property offices may forward the examination report of one intellectual property office which has completed examination to another intellectual property office to be used as a reference in their examination.
The examiners of the other intellectual property office will not perform a whole examination process. This is a temporary project of the ASEAN intellectual property office to increase efficiency and to prevent too many applications to be handled. This project does not require change of the existing regulations and approvals on diplomatic documents. The finding of one intellectual property office does not affect the finding of another intellectual property office.
ASPEC was initiated by Singapore in 2008 in the 30th meeting of ASEAN Working Group on Intellectual Property Cooperation (AWGIPC) in Hoi An, Vietnam and included participation of intellectual property offices of Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Brunei Darussalam will participate soon after implementation of its Patent Law.