Thursday, June 23, 2011

ASEAN patent prosecution highway

The ASEAN Patent Examination Co-operation system (ASPEC) is a kind of Patent Prosecution Highway for providing accelerated patent prosecution procedures by sharing search and examination reports between participating ASEAN patent offices. It  has just been launched and is being planned out between the various IP offices involved.  

It permits each participating ASEAN patent office to benefit from the work previously done by the other patent office, with the goal of reducing examination workload and improving patent quality. The patent office that receives the first application is called “Office of First Filing” (OFF) while the patent office that reviews the allowed claims from an OFF is called “Office of Second Filing” (OSF). The OSF may consider the search and examination documents it receives from the OFF under the ASPEC. However, the OSF is not obliged to adopt any of the findings or conclusions reached by the OFF.  

The objectives of ASPEC are twofold: reduced work and faster turnaround time as well as better search and examination.   The participating IP Offices to ASPEC are Singapore, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam. ASPEC commenced on 15 Jun 2009. The effects of the launch of ASPEC have yet to be seen. It is expected that in the next few years, ASPEC will enhance the cooperation between ASEAN IP offices in the fields of patent search and examination which should benefit to patent applicants and reduce examination delays.

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