Friday, January 22, 2016

Cambodia's patent outsourcing adventure starts

IP Komodo reported previously that Cambodia's patent office and Singapore's IPOS had reached an agreement for Singapore to examine Cambodian patents. IPOS has now announced that this is running and IPOS has now started to issue first-office-action search and examination reports for patent applications filed in Cambodia. Cambodia will soon join the Patent Cooperation Treaty, which will increase access to its patent system.

Singapore sees this as a step towards the progressive integration and development of IP in ASEAN, which is important as we step into the era of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). Whilst Cambodia might not be a top filing destination, this type of outsourcing is a good way for smaller markets to operate high quality patent systems, without trying to build their own expensive, technically strong examination departments. In many small countries this is impossible anyway due to the skills shortages. There is already a tradition of patent office outsourcing. Several middle eastern countries have outsourced examination to European offices. Hong Kong for many years in effect did so to UK and China, and in future do so to China when it starts its own full patent system.

IP Komodo believes that all small markets would benefit from such outsourcing. Why spend money building a poor quality system which serves customers badly, all in the name of maintaining sovereignty, when you can send the work elsewhere, and deliver high quality results. Pretty soon Cambodia will be leapfrogging many much larger neighbours in terms of patent quality.

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