The 9 Heads of ASEAN Member States Intellectual Property Offices and EPO President Benoît Battistelli met in Siem Reap last week. They signed their first regional Memorandum of Co-operation (MoC) on Industrial Property. The overall aim is to establish an institutional framework for co-operation in the field of patents. Europe's angle is the growing economic significance of the 500 million strong South East Asian region.
Several planned projects are envisaged to support the on-going patent-related initiatives under the ASEAN Intellectual Property Rights Action Plan 2011-2015. These include work-sharing arrangements, patent information, and development of search and examination capacities of the ASEAN patent Offices. The EPO offered training of patent examiners; data exchange; patent classification assistance; machine translation; search tools; and exchanges of best practices and technical/policy solutions.