Transfer Pricing Associates

Singapore enters Agreement With China

post Wednesday July 24, 2013

Signing agreement - Freedigitalphotos

In an effort to bolster the relationship and flow of commerce, innovation and investment, China and Singapore have announced an agreement to take steps with the goal of increasing the collaboration between the neighboring countries. The Intellectual Property office of Singapore (IPOS) and their Chinese counterparts have agreed to initiate a two-year test or pilot program of what is being called the “Patent Prosecution Highway” (PPH). This announcement sends a signal to the rest of the world that IPOS and China are working to become more efficient and effective in their dealings with IP and other intangibles.

A unique feature of IPOS is their system currently allows for a very cost effective method of determining the need for a new patent in Singapore. This system utilizes the pre-existing patents in treaty partners. IPOS searches the patent databases of their so called patent partners and then reviews the patent in the foreign country. IPOS typically grants a patent based on this process. The jurisdictions that Singapore and IPOS have agreements with include the following countries: The Republic of Korea, the United States of America, European Patent Office (English only), The United Kingdom, Australia, Canada (English only), Japan and New Zealand. Additionally, IPOS permits using an International Preliminary Report on Patentability (IPRP). The IPRP is generally created and maintained by competent authorities.

While the PPH will greatly expedite the development of granting patents to Chinese related entities, the PPH does not always lead to the grant of a process like the reliance mechanism that is in place for reliance partners. The PPH strictly speeds the entire route of granting a patent. The usefulness of the PPH should not be underestimated just because it does not only lead to the granting of a patent. In addition to the reliance mechanism that is in place with some countries, IPOS has already entered into PPHs with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, The Republic of Korea’s patent office as well as Japan’s governing body of patents. Each of these PPHs has proved to be successful and very cost effective while benefiting all parties involved.

The decision to institute a PPH by IPOS and China is a positive signal for the development of IP and the protection of intangibles in these two countries and has potential to benefit companies by increasing the speed of the process of achieving a patent or trademark in either country.

Source: Managing Intellectual Property

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