The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has recently extended its two pilot patent acceleration programmes such as the ASPEC Acceleration for Industry 4.0 Infrastructure and Manufacturing Pilot (ASPEC AIM) Programme until 26 August 2023, and the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) agreement with the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) until 31 August 2026, in order for patent applicants in the ASEAN region and China to continue to enjoy expedited examination process.
ASPEC AIM Programme
ASPEC AIM Programme was introduced under ASEAN Patent Examination Cooperation (ASPEC) in 27 August 2019 with an aim to accelerate Industry 4.0 patent applications whereby patent applicants are able to enjoy a short turnaround time of six months to receive a first office action. This extension allows patent applicants to continue to leverage on ASPEC AIM to fast track their Industry 4.0 inventions in the ASEAN region. The cap on patent applications per year remains at 50.
By way of background, ASPEC is the first regional patent work-sharing programme among nine participating ASEAN Member States (AMS) IP Offices of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The programme was launched on 15 June 2009.
This ASPEC programme shares search and examination results between the participating offices to allow applicants in participating countries to obtain corresponding patents faster and more efficiently. This programme has several benefits such as reducing the search and examination work done thereby saving time and effort, expediting patent prosecution and enhancing the quality of the search and examination process as other ASEAN patent offices may have access to certain databases which examiners from other countries in the region may not have access to.
PPH Programme with CNIPA
The PPH agreement is a work-sharing programme where patent applicants can rely on the examination results issued from one patent office to accelerate the prosecution of patent applications filed in another office, which is a party to the PPH agreement.
The PPH pilot programme between CNIPA and IPOS commenced on 1 September 2013. With the extension of the PPH agreement between these offices until 31 August 2026, patent applicants can continue to enjoy accelerated patent prosecution in China or Singapore by relying on a relevant examination result established by an intellectual property office in either of these countries.
The extension of the ASPEC AIM Pilot Programme and the PPH Programme with China is indeed a welcome move. With these initiatives in place, patent applicants can continue to benefit from the expedited prosecution process not only in the ASEAN region but also in a global scale through the PPH programmes.