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29 September 2021

In August 2021, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (“IPOS”) announced the extension of two pilot patent acceleration programmes as briefly discussed below.

ASPEC AIM Pilot Programme extended till 26 August 2023 

The ASEAN Patent Examination Co-operation (“ASPEC”) Acceleration for Industry 4.0 Infrastructure and Manufacturing Pilot (“ASPEC AIM”) Programme has been extended for two years till 26 August 2023. The two-year extension will allow applicants to continue to leverage on ASPEC AIM to fast track their Industry 4.0 inventions in the ASEAN region. A cap of 50 applications per year remains.

By way of background, the ASPEC AIM Pilot Programme was an initiative announced by IPOS to support the ASEAN Industry 4.0 during IP Week @ SG 2019. The pilot project started from 27 August 2019 and was expected to run for two years with the aim of allowing businesses and innovators to enjoy a short turnaround time of six months for the first office action under the new ASPEC AIM initiative.

Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) Pilot with China extended for five years till 31 August 2026 

The Patent Prosecution Highway (“PPH”) pilot programme between IPOS and the China National Intellectual Property Administration (“CNIPA”) which commenced on 1 September 2013, will be extended till 31 August 2026. IPOS and CNIPA (together, “Offices”) will evaluate the results of the pilot programme to determine whether and how the programme should be fully implemented. The Offices may also suspend or terminate the PPH pilot programme if the volume of participation exceeds manageable level or for any other reason by providing three months’ notice in writing to the other Office. Notice will be published if the PPH pilot programme will be suspended or terminated for any reason. The requirements and procedures for filing a request with CNIPA for participation in the PPH pilot programme are available from the CNIPA website www.cnipa.gov.cn.

Practical comment

The extension of the ASPEC AIM Pilot Programme and PPH pilot programme with China is welcomed. IPOS also recently launched the Domestic Acceleration Programmes, which allow for Singapore patents to be granted in as fast as six to 12 months from the Singapore filing date. For more information, please refer to our previous articles titled “Covid-19: New IPOS initiatives for companies including expedited registration for trade marks and registered designs and new partnerships with other IP offices” and “IPOS offers SG Patent Fast Track, world’s fastest patent application-to-grant process”. A Singapore patent that has been accelerated to grant may then be used to expedite the grant of corresponding patents in ASEAN (through ASPEC) and worldwide (through PPH programmes). This approach will complement the patent filing strategy for companies seeking to obtain patents quickly on a worldwide basis.

Reference materials

The following materials can be found on the ASEAN Intellectual Property Portal website www.aseanip.org and the IPOS website www.ipos.gov.sg: