Singapore: IPOS enhances international cooperation
In January 2015, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) and Cambodia's Ministry of Industry and Handicraft (MIH) for aligning the IP regimes of the two countries. Following the IPOS/Cambodia MoU, on September 21 2015, the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) and IPOS signed a new MoU. With these two MoUs, IPOS expands its global leadership role by cementing its global ties with UKIPO and opening a new entry into Cambodia's IP regime.
With the Cambodian MoU, enhanced cooperation between IPOS and MIH now exists to provide useful options for owners of Singapore patents/patent applications to obtain the grant of a related Cambodian patent application. Specifically, in order to facilitate issuance of a patent in Cambodia it is now possible for owners of Singapore patents/patent applications to (i) re-register their Singapore patents at MIH or (ii) submit an IPOS-issued search and examination (S&E) report to MIH.
For re-registration under option (i), the proprietor of a Singapore patent can submit a request to re-register the patent in Cambodia to the MIH any time during its term, provided that the patent is in force in Singapore at the time of re-registration in Cambodia. For the submission of an IPOS-issued S&E report to MIH under option (ii), the applicant for related patent applications in Singapore and Cambodia can request IPOS to submit a copy of the final S&E report issued by IPOS, and the final specification of the Singapore application to MIH.
The first re-registered Singapore patent application was granted in Cambodia on March 4 2015. This landmark Cambodian application was based on a positive report by IPOS' S&E unit and also marked Cambodia's first-ever granted patent.
The successful collaboration with Cambodia's MIH and issuance of Cambodia's first-ever granted patent is a reaffirmation of enhanced cooperation between Singapore and its ASEAN neighbours evidencing greater ASEAN harmonisation and reaffirming Singapore as an influential figure on issues of intellectual property in the ASEAN region.
On the global stage, the UKIPO/IPOS MoU aims to improve international cooperation between the UKIPO and IPOS on issues concerning copyright, patents, trade marks and designs. In particular, the MoU establishes a global flexible mechanism for developing and furthering cooperation activities between the UK and Singapore in the industrial property field and in information technology services.
More importantly, the MoU between UKIPO and IPOS seeks to unlock increased potential for UK businesses to benefit from IPOS's influence in the ASEAN region and allow for a wider UK-ASEAN trade relationship through closer IP cooperation.
Accordingly, through a number of international agreements and heightened IP cooperation between jurisdictions, Singapore is quickly establishing itself as the stepping stone into the ASEAN region with the potential of unlocking increased business and trade relationships from both within and outside the ASEAN region.