ASEAN Enhances Patent Examination Cooperation Program

The ASEAN Patent Examination Cooperation (ASPEC) program will now operate in the English language in all participating ASEAN IP Offices, a press statement from the ASEAN Secretariat said here on Friday.

The enhancement, announced by the Heads of ASEAN Intellectual Property (IP) Offices, was part of a regular review of the ASPEC program at the recent Special ASEAN Working Group on Intellectual Property Cooperation Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand in November 2011.

Launched in June 2009, the ASPEC program provides for the sharing of search and examination results among the participating ASEAN IP Offices. This would reduce duplication on the search and examination work, thereby facilitating applicants in obtaining corresponding patents faster and more efficiently.

As one of the programs to achieve one of the Strategic Goals of the ASEAN Intellectual Property Rights Action Plan 2011-2015, the ASPEC program aims to foster "a balanced IP system" that takes into account the varying development levels of ASEAN member states and differences in institutional capacity of their IP Offices.

This will enable them to deliver timely, quality, and accessible IP services to meet the needs of users and generators of IP in the region.

Under the ASPEC program, patent examiners are able to develop their search criteria or strategy more quickly, reduce searching time, and swiftly understand the claimed invention.

Patent examiners are also able to have access to information and assessment of prior art found in specific technical databases, local databases, and databases in other languages, which the examiner might otherwise not have access to.

The ASPEC program will benefit entrepreneurs, small and medium- sized enterprises and inventors in individual ASEAN member states to obtain patents on their innovation in the region.

Following this review, all documents submitted for the purpose of the ASPEC program at any participating ASEAN IP Office will be in the English language. The ASPEC Request form has also been revised.

Interested applicants may consult with ASEAN IP Offices or through their websites for details on the requirements and procedures of ASPEC.

(Source: Xinhua)