The arrival of 2015 will see Singapore start to take on its work as an International Authority under the PCT patent system.
Singapore is moving to become the region's key IP centre, and this is part of plan. WIPO at present uses 17 countries to search and examine PCT patent applications and Singapore will become the 18th. It is first in the ASEAN region and the fifth in Asia (along with China, India, Japan and Korea). Applicants under the PCT may therefore select Singapore for searches and examination reports, which will be conduced by IPOS.
Singapore is presenting this as an advantage for the region (and their ability to handle Chinese is for sure). How ASEAN applicants can benefit is not yet clear. Singapore examiners will certainly be more in tune with some technologies in the region. And it presents opportunities for ASEAN applicants to have an authority based in their region which they can contact easily.