Patent Filing in ASEAN

Patent Attorney in Asia

A patent is an exclusive legal right granted to the applicant for a new invention by the government that prevents from making, using, importing, or selling the invention without his permission. Patent’s rights are territorial, which means an individual can protect his invention in the geography where he filed the patent application. An individual can also obtain international patent protection by directly filing a patent application in the country where he wishes to get a patent. There are three types of patents. These are utility patents, design patents, and plant patents. A utility patent is concerned with the technology and it has to do with how something works. It has to do with mechanical things or chemicals or pharmaceuticals or software, it might be simple, it might be a screw or a nut or a bolt but there is something technical about the product. It could be shown in drawings. It can describe in tables or chemical composition. The utility patent includes a detailed and written description.  Design patent covers the ornamental design. Plant patents are the rarest of all kinds of patents. They are not that hard to get, but they are in a specialized field, typically, for example, for hybrid roses. If you breed hybrid roses, you might be interested in plant patent. 

Patents protect inventive ideas themselves.  In the United States, the patent and trademark office issues patents to inventors who can demonstrate their inventions are new and useful. Patents provide the inventor 20 years period of exclusive control over their idea, preventing anyone else from making, using, selling, or importing the invention into the United States. Patent holders can recover their lost profits or a reasonable royalty from anyone who infringes their patent and up to triple damages from anyone who infringes wilfully. Patent holders can also obtain a court order preventing infringers from making, using, selling, or importing any products based on their patents.

ASEAN is a political and economic alliance of ten countries. The group’s five original member states are Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, founded ASAEN in 1967, during the height of the Vietnam war. At that time, many Southeast Asian governments were at war with their respective communist-led guerrilla groups, and leaders became increasingly concerned about political vulnerability. So, they ally to not only secure the region against the threat of communism but to give Southeast Asia a cohesive voice on Cold war issues.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, ASAEN has shifted its focus to international trade, border security, and collaboration with neighbouring countries like China and South Korea. For instance, ASEAN member state GDP range anywhere from roughly $11 to roughly 888 billion dollars, but collectively their GDP is about 2.5 trillion dollars rivalling that of France and the United Kingdom. ASEAN striving to create a distinct “Southeast Asian identity” by 2020. It means that citizens belonging to these member states would identify themselves not by their nationality, but by calling themselves ASEAN.   

The Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has the goal of establishing itself as a single market and competitive economic region. The Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) recognizes the patent system as a tool to persuade and promote a pro-business environment and to attract technological investment to the region. ASEAN can become one of the largest economies and markets in the world, which is in itself is sufficient justification to consider IP strategies in the region. In the future, if ASEAN becomes the single economy, then it would be the seventh-largest in the world and the third-largest in Asia, behind China and Japan. If ASEAN grows with current growth trends, then it will be the world’s fourth-largest by 2050. ASEAN’s potential market is greater than the European Union, which is justification in the region’s GDP growth from the perspective of the population.

The limited institutional capacity and flaws in the patent registration system in ASEAN countries are hurdles for development. ASEAN must adopt another regional model, which is the Regional Patent Office, to remove such barriers and promote the patent registration system in ASEAN. Regional Patent Office gives an advantage to ASEAN in improving its capability in administering the patent registration and promoting the goal of ASEAN to accelerate the technological growth in the region. ASEAN member states must overcome the challenges in establishing the regional Patent Office.  

ASPEC stands for The ASEAN Patent Examination Co-operation which, is launched on 15 June 2009. ASPEC is the first regional patent work-sharing program among its nine participating ASEAN Member states IP Offices. These member states IP Offices are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. In all participating AMS IP Offices, ASPEC operates in the English language and is free-of-charge to the applicant at any participating AMS IP Office. The patent office assesses the patentability of a patent application by conducting exam and examination quality. The main aim of the ASPEC programme is to improve search and examination quality. With the help of the ASPEC programme, participating can share S&E results.